Such is the popularity of Rossini's operas, that throughout the last 150 years they have been subjected to all forms of arrangements and transcriptions, some for solo instruments, others for ensemble groups and even orchestral ones.
This highly entertaining disc concentrates on two of the composer's best constructed scores, but the arrangement for Wind Quintet is quite unusual. Although the "Harmoniemusik" genre was very popular in Rossini's day, the passing of time has rather dimmed the beauty of this combination so all credit to Guido Schafer, the Ma'alot Quintet's clarinetist who has reminded us what we were missing by arranging substantial pieces of music from "La Cenerentola" and "Tancredi".
Schafer's choice is in excellent taste all through, and the way he handles the instruments is not only masterly but also wholly refreshing. Rossini's melodies are so miraculously tuneful that whatever the soundworld, they never fail to work their particular brand of magic. That said, these arrangements are a joy to experience and all the colourful rhythms and sparkling inventiveness of the originals are brought out with ingenious transparency. This is an exhilarating and immensely satisfying issue that has "harmony" written all over it.
Copyright © 2010, Gerald Fenech