All the works are idiomatically performed by largely Italian forces: the Filarmonica ’900 del Teatro Regio, Turin, is conducted by Gianandrea Noseda. Rota’s first two symphonies, both of which originated in the late 1930s (recorded on CHAN 10546), are direct descendants of the romantic tradition. Composed in 1956-57, Symphony No. 3 (recorded here) is generally less serious in content, and written in a lighter and essentially neoclassical style.
The album also includes Rota’s Divertimento concertante for double-bass and orchestra, with the Italian double-bass player Davide Botto as soloist. This work was originally written for the Italian virtuoso Franco Petracchi, and offers in the first movement a reminder of the instrument’s extraordinarily wide pitch range as it covers nearly four octaves.
Rota then takes us on a journey, in which the hero, the double-bass, performs a cheerful burlesque march in the second movement, before taking on a more lyrical role in the third movement. The finale opens with a sprightly tune that inspires the double-bass to challenge the woodwind in agility, but also in terms of high-pitched brilliance.
The Concerto soirée is in a category of its own. It is best described as a piano concerto written in the spirit of Rossini’s Soirées musicales, in which new and exclusive Chandos artist, Barry Douglas, as soloist is required not to perform virtuoso feats in a romantic grand manner, but rather to amuse himself and the orchestra with a variety of sociable ideas. The result is a work which is lively and light-hearted.