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Track(s) taken from CDA67606

Variations on 'Non più mesta' from Rossini's La Cenerentola, Op 60

1817; originally composed for The Barber of Seville, 1816

Philip Martin (piano)
Recording details: October 2006
All Saints' Church, East Finchley, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Martin Compton
Engineered by Julian Millard
Release date: January 2008
Total duration: 9 minutes 56 seconds

Cover artwork: The Reluctant Pianist (detail). William A Breakspeare (1855-1914)
Reproduced by courtesy of Fine Art Photographs, London


‘Philip Martin proves a strong Herz advocate, displaying a genuine affection for the music and all the requisite flair for the abundant trills, roulades, scales … and repeated left-hand jumps’ (International Record Review)

‘Hyperion continues its invaluable exploration of the piano's highways and byways with this richly enjoyable programme from Philip Martin, focusing on the scintillating output of Viennese child prodigy Henri Herz … the salonesque, radiant charms of the La Cenerentola variations … come tripping off the page in this affectionately sparkling performance from Philip Martin, whose warmly engaging style is a constant source of pleasure throughout’ (Classic FM Magazine)

‘Philip Martin sounds like he is enjoying himself, and his technique is fully up to the tasks at hand’ (Fanfare, USA)

‘Herz may not be a great composer, yet his stuff certainly is fun to digest in small doses, especially when you consider Philip Martin's appropriately light and colorful touch, supple finger work, and marvelous sense of dramatic timing … collectors who dote on the rare Romantics need no prodding to acquire this excellently engineered release’ (Classics Today)

‘Martin, fresh from his laudable eight-disc survey of Gottschalk's piano music, tackles these well-programmed works with sensuousness and vitality, capturing the ornately flamboyant allure of the music with great affection’ (Musical Criticism.com)
The Variations on ‘Non più mesta’ from Rossini’s La Cenerentola Op 60 is Herz’s best-known work. Sometimes known as the Rondo Aria, ‘Non più mesta’ (‘No longer sad beside the fire’) is the pyrotechnical aria sung by the eponymous heroine at the end of Rossini’s opera, premiered in 1817. Rossini had composed the tune a year earlier for Count Almaviva’s final aria, ‘Ah! il più lieto, il più felice’ (‘Ah! of all loving hearts mine is the happiest’), in The Barber of Seville, a number that is generally omitted from productions nowadays.

Several composers were attracted to this show-stopper, including Chopin (his flaccid variations for flute and piano were written at the age of fourteen), Franz Hünten, Diabelli and Burgmüller, but Herz’s response is surely the finest, as witty and agile as the original. The introduction, theme, six variations and finale remain resolutely in C major while Herz throws all manner of digital challenges at the performer, including left-hand skips of tenths and twelfths, rapid scales and repeated notes for the right hand, broken octaves and, in Variation 5, a dolcissimo quasi glissando in thirds.

from notes by Jeremy Nicholas © 2008

Les Variations sur «Non più mesta» de La Cenerentola de Rossini, op. 60 sont l’œuvre la plus connue de Herz. Parfois qualifiée d’Aria-rondo, «Non più mesta» («Plus triste à côté du feu») est l’aria pyrotechnique chantée par Cendrillon à la fin de l’opéra de Rossini, créé en 1817. Cet air, Rossini l’avait composé un an auparavant pour l’aria finale du comte Almaviva, «Ah, il più lieto, il più felice» («Ah! de tous les cœurs aimants, le mien est le plus heureux»), dans Le Barbier de Séville—une aria que les productions actuelles omettent souvent.

Plusieurs compositeurs furent séduits par ce numéro sensationnel, tels Chopin (ses flasques variations pour flûte et piano datent de ses quatorze ans), Franz Hünten, Diabelli et Burgmüller, mais ce fut certainement Herz qui leur apporta la meilleure réponse, aussi verveuse et agile qu’originale. L’introduction, le thème, les six variations et le finale demeurent résolument en ut majeur, tandis que Herz lance à l’interprète toutes sortes de défis digitaux, avec des sauts de dixième et de douzième à la main gauche, des gammes rapides et des notes répétées à la droite, des octaves brisées et, à la Variation 5, un dolcissimo quasi glissando en tierces.

extrait des notes rédigées par Jeremy Nicholas © 2008
Français: Hypérion

Die Variationen über „Non più mesta“ aus Rossinis La Cenerentola op. 60 sind das populärste Werk von Herz. Auch bekannt als das Rondo Aria, „Non più mesta“ („Nicht länger traurig am Feuer“) ist die brillante Arie, die von der Titelheldin am Ende von Rossinis 1817 uraufgeführter Oper gesungen wird. Rossini hatte die Arie ein Jahr vorher für Graf Almavivas Final-Arie „Ah! Il più lieto, il più felice“ („Ah! Von allen liebenden Herzen ist meines das glücklichste“) im Barbier von Sevilla komponiert, eine Nummer, die bei den heutigen Produktionen normalerweise ausgelassen wird.

Einige weitere Komponisten fühlten sich durch diesen Schlager inspiriert, darunter Chopin (seine etwas schwachen Variationen für Flöte und Klavier wurden im Alter von 14 Jahren komponiert), Franz Hünten, Diabelli und Burgmüller. Die Version von Herz ist sicher die beste, so witzig und munter wie das Original. Introduktion, Thema, Variationen und Finale bleiben konsequent in C-Dur, während Herz den Interpreten mit allen Arten von Fingerartistik konfrontiert, darunter in der linken Hand Sprünge über Dezimen und Duodezimen, rasende Läufe und Tonrepetitionen in der rechten Hand, gebrochene Oktaven und in Variation 5 ein dolcissimo quasi glissando in Terzen.

aus dem Begleittext von Jeremy Nicholas © 2008
Deutsch: Ludwig Madlener

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