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Hyperion Records

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The Gondala, Venice, with Santa Maria della Salute in the Distance (1865) by James Holland (1799-1870)
Copyright Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Preston, Lancashire, England / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67647
Recording details: April 2007
Potton Hall, Dunwich, Suffolk, United Kingdom
Produced by Mark Brown
Engineered by Ben Connellan
Release date: June 2008
Total duration: 27 minutes 40 seconds

'Rossini's writing for the piano is highly idiosyncratic. It requires a first-rate technique, a sure sense of style and an ability to bring off insouciance all manner of hair's-breadth effects. Mr Vignoles has the measure of all this and more' (Gramophone)

'Salon music at its most sophisticated and highly wrought. Gently elegiac bel canto arias jostle with popular dance rhythms, from a yodelling Tyrolean waltz to the snap and swagger of the bolero and fandango … the three singers give virtually unalloyed pleasure' (The Daily Telegraph)

'All four musicians make a positive contribution to this charming, entertaining disc—a surprise venture into a still under-explored area of art-song by the ever-enterprising Hyperion' (International Record Review)

'It's hard for any disc of Rossini's Paris salon songs not to speed by in a wink of delight. And it's impossible with Miah Persson's bright soprano and the sensitive accompaniments of Roger Vignoles' (The Times)

'Rossini's salon works are witty, charming, tuneful and downright silly, complete with florid vocal lines. Lovely performances' (Classic FM Magazine)

'Joyous music-making that is perfect for a summer's evening' (Daily Mail)

'There isn't a low point on the entire disc. Roger Vignoles plays with all his characteristic intelligence and subtlety. Miah Persson is enchanting in the opening La promessa, and playfully dazzling in La pastorella dell'Alpi. Stella Doufexis' pure, rich voice gives perfect expression to L’orpheline du Tyrol, and the two women's voices meld together magically when paired in duets such as La pesca. Meanwhile, Bruce Ford is technically brilliant and dramatically engaging in the drinking song, L'orgia, and smoothly leads the mood from light to darkness with L'esule, the first of the Péchés de vieillesse. If Rossini's songs are the cake and the performers the icing, the recording itself is the unexpected cherry on top. The acoustic of Potton Hall in Suffolk immediately transports you to the intimate space of Rossini's salon, candles flickering, guests listening intently, adding a further dimension to this already wonderful disc' (

Soirées musicales
published 1835

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
The Soirées musicales begins with three short, formally simple, song-like arias that Rossini called ‘canzonettas’: La promessa, a song in which the lover swears eternal love and loyalty to his beloved, which begins as a gentle barcarolle and develops into a more impassioned central section; Il rimprovero, another declaration of love in which the jilted man berates the woman for causing him such pain; and La partenza, which describes the pain of separation, with the pianist’s right hand echoing the vocal line. L’orgia celebrates the joys of wine and love in a lively brindisi, while L’invito, to a poem by Count Pepoli, is a delightful bolero in which Eloisa tells her Ruggiero that she cannot live without him. In La pastorella dell’Alpi the shepherdess’s anguish sounds strangely lighthearted, but chords interrupt the catchy tune and express grief at Aminta’s faithlessness. La danza is a celebrated bravura piece for tenor—an intoxicating, breathless tarantella. La gita in gondola sets Pepoli’s poem to a charming barcarolle in rolling 12/8 time; La pesca, subtitled ‘notturno’ by the composer, is an Andante grazioso in 3/8 time, and sets a Metastasio poem in which the fisherman bids his sweetheart join him on the beach to enjoy the evening air. La serenata is a charming duet in which tenor and soprano first alternate and then sing together; La regata veneziana is a lively duet in Venetian dialect for two sopranos who describe how Tonio and Beppe encourage one another as they take part in a regatta.

from notes by Richard Stokes © 2008

Other albums featuring this work
'Souvenirs de Venise' (CDH55217)
Souvenirs de Venise
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55217  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
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