This is the third in a series of "Discovery" discs dedicated to unknown or rare works by three famous Italian composers, Rossini, Verdi and now Puccini. Chailly had already recorded some Puccini rarities in the early 80's but this new issue contains quite a few works that never seem to have seen the light of day.
Of particular interest is the cantata, "Cessato il suon dell'armi" where the young Maltese tenor, Joseph Calleja makes his spectacular debut for Decca. The voice is clean and firm, full of character and presence and the end result is truly invigorating with this particular tenor showing much promise.
The other works also merit further scrutiny with an intriguing "Corazzata Siciliana" and an equally fresh sounding "Motetto per San Paolino" with Alberto Mastromarino in fine voice. The short "Requiem" has already received recordings before but this particular interpretation by Mugnai and de Thierry is probably the best we have at the moment. The bold "Inno a Roma" and the similarly effusive "Vexilla" are other works of interest.
Finally we have the alternative "Turandot" Finale in a completion by Luciano Berio. This is excellent stuff and a real discovery in that it provides for a quiet ending and not the grand histrionics of Aldano's bombastic conclusion. All soloists sing quite well with Urbanova on top form. Definitely the most satisfying of the triptych of discs dedicated to the rarities from well known Italian composers.
Copyright © 2004, Gerald Fenech