Rossini’s ceaseless wit and invention are best exemplified in his series of operas. His colourful orchestration and command of both comic and tragic elements can be savoured in this second of four volumes of the complete symphonic overtures. Guillaume Tell, with its overture in four movements, includes a scene for five solo cellos. La scala di seta (The Silken Ladder), one of his most popular pieces, opens with an overture of charm and élan.
'Actually there were lots of discoveries. Many of these pieces, some of them very beautiful, are simply never performed. It was a pleasure and a privilege to discover them.'
– Christian Benda on recording the complete Rossini Overtures
La gazza ladra • Semiramide • Otello • Le siège de Corinthe
Elisabetta, Regina d’Inghilterra (Il barbiere di Siviglia)
Sinfonia in D ‘al Conventello’ • Ermione*
“Benda and the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra’s performances are an absolute delight, featuring playing that’s bright as a button and droll as those Rossini caricatures one commonly sees plastered on program posters and album covers. This first volume affords both a strong start and a strong promise for the most comprehensive and important survey of Rossini’s overtures since Marriner’s 1970s effort.That’s a definite recommendation.” – Fanfare
“At the end of the course, if it continues at this level, Benda will be better and steal a march on his only rival, Neville Marriner on Philips. Thus another success for Naxos.” –ClassicsTodayFrance.com
About the Artists:
Christian Benda is descended from a long line of musicians. First guest conductor of the Turin Philharmonic, he appears worldwide with orchestras including the Prague Symphony, Shanghai Philharmonic, Orchestra della Toscana, Polish National Opera, Budapest Concert Orchestra MÁV, Cyprus State, Moscow Virtuosi, Münster Philharmonic, Ulster Orchestra, Orquestra Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo, and Suisse Romande Orchestra, invited by festivals such as Schwetzingen, Echternach/Luxemburg, Cité de la musique Paris, Prague Spring, George Enescu Bucharest, Hong Kong Arts, Klangbogen Wien, and the Menuhin Festival in Switzerland. Christian Benda is chief conductor and artistic director of the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra with which he has recorded numerous standard classical works, as well as Schubert’s and Rossini’s complete overtures. Singers such as Renée Fleming, Barbara Hendricks, Cheryl Studer, and Simon Estes have appeared under his baton. In collaboration with the Vienna State Opera he has devised a new introduction to opera for the general public and young people, High-Lights and Micro-Opera, based on Goethe’s colour theory, with the participation of narrator and dancers.