This is a useful collection although the recorded sound is so atrocious and very boxy. The repertoire is highly interesting and much of it is worth a listen.
The Préludes and intermezzi to "Cavalleria" and "L'Amico Fritz" are beautifully paced although they are a touch old fashioned for my tastes. The real interest begins with the rare music such as 'Isabeau' and 'Silvano', both Préludes that include a good deal of very romantic music that shows Mascagni's typical dramatic strengths.
The exotic 'Danza Esotica' is also full of fantasy this also has Severini in fine fettle, especially towards the end where the music takes on an almost heroic fashion. A good part of the disc is taken up by the bombastic and ethereal 'Inno del Sole' from 'Iris', one of the loveliest pages in operatic music.
As I said earlier, the sound is pretty bad but the warm-hearted energy of Severini and his Triestian orchestra hold the day with aplomb. Dynamic's packaging includes detailed annotation and some session photos that are of nominal interest. If you want the rare Mascagni then this disc will oblige quite finely.
Copyright © 2001, Gerald Fenech