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Cat. No. CHAN 10190 Price: £0 No. of discs: 1
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CHAN 10190 - Rossini: Complete Piano Works, Volume 1
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Available From: 05 April 2004
Gioachino Rossini

1792-1868

For almost forty years after the first performance of his last opera, William Tell, in 1829, Rossini lived on, plagued by illness. After a protracted period during which he was altogether unable to compose, in the spring of 1855 he moved to Paris, and his health dramatically improved. His famous sense of humour was restored and, miraculously, he began to compose again. This new surge in creativity resulted in 150 piano pieces, songs, small ensembles and the Petite messe solenelle. Rossini referred to these pieces as his Péchés de vieillesse, the ‘Sins of old age’.

Although Rossini was disparaging about his talent as a pianist, all the works on this disc are technically challenging. Even harder for the pianist who tackles these charming, witty and sentimental works is the fact that the music requires a deep understanding of Rossini both as a person and a composer, for it was to the piano that he told the story of his life and at which he reminisced. It is in this music, written in old age and with the complicity of the companionable instrument, that he bares his soul.

Rossini was steadfast in his aesthetic ideals. When he abandoned composition in 1829 the musical world was in flux. In the works of his old age, he anticipated the neoclassical movement, whose early exponents included his young admirer, Saint-Saëns, and whose effects can be heard in the music of Stravinsky. Just as, for the first half of the nineteenth century, Rossini defined the nature of opera, the music of his twilight years dramatically influenced the next generation of French composers.

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