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Chris Morgan
Scene Magazine, December 2013

Some of the best examples of Rossini’s brilliance appear on this new CD release from Naxos, which is the second compilation in a four-volume set devoted to the composer’s symphonic overtures…the Prague Symphony Orchestra is up to the challenge of realizing these demanding pieces—including overtures from the operas Eduardo e Cristina and Sigismondo, among others—and their attention and emotional investment to the material is patently apparent. Definitive. © 2013 Scene Magazine Read complete review

Jerry Dubins
Fanfare, November 2013

…Benda’s readings are full of vim and vigor…the Prague orchestra plays with zip and zest. Not one of these overtures is any less enjoyable than the opera it introduces, and every one of them is guaranteed to give pleasure. Strongly recommended. © 2013 Fanfare Read complete review

Steven J Haller
American Record Guide, September 2013

La Scala di Seta is a triumph for the oboe, and the entire wind cohort proves themselves to be artists of the highest caliber.

Performance and sound are easily on a par with Volume 1, and on balance I can recommend adding this one to your Rossini shelf as well. I can’t wait to see what Volume 3 might bring! © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

John Sheppard
MusicWeb International, August 2013

I was very impressed by the first volume of this intended set of four discs. This made me a little apprehensive as to whether the standard would be kept up. There was however no need for this, as here is another excellent disc to join not only the previous Rossini disc but two discs of Schubert’s complete Overtures from the same performers.

Guillaume Tell…is performed with panache and colour, with the woodwind solos in the ranz des vaches played with great character.

La scala di seta and Il Signor Bruschino…are given very spry performances…the delightful woodwind solo playing is one of the main attractions of the disc, but throughout the orchestra play with abundant character, lively articulation and an absence of any hint of routine. There is a bounce and wit in the playing which is wholly appropriate to these works.

…there are full and helpful notes by Keith Anderson and a clear recording in acoustics well suited to the music. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Raymond J Walker
MusicWeb International, July 2013

Of the pieces, the best known is Guillaume Tell and here Benda’s performance matches up well with the quality of benchmark recordings. In L’inganno Felice, the boundless energy is captivating, with bright and precise strings nicely balanced by warm-toned horns.

The Prague orchestras carry a reputation for fine musicianship that doesn’t go unnoticed here where the articulation is first class. I like the quality of sound where a clear focus on sections of the orchestra is noticeable and the balance is superb. The bite and crispness of the strings gives an energetic feel to the playing.

Succinct notes in English by Keith Anderson gives useful background information and brief resumés of the operas.

This disc is welcomed without hesitation. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Brian Wigman
Classical Net, July 2013

This volume contains some very worthy music in great sound, expertly executed.

…Benda…and his Prague forces pay a ton of attention to little details of articulation and color. The sonic quality of the disc certainly helps…Benda’s players are…insightful.

…Naxos provides enormous value and quality; I have no doubt that the whole series will be the finest of its kind when all is said and done. This is a treat, so enjoy! © 2013 Classical Net Read complete review

John J. Puccio
Classical Candor, July 2013

There are any number of good recordings of Rossini overtures, and Benda gives us yet another good choice…Benda’s performances stand up to the best, and the Naxos sound and price are right.

…Maestro Benda makes a good case for all of [Rossini’s overtures], infusing them with an élan that tends to carry the day.

The sound they obtained is quite good, well balanced, with no undue forwardness or dullness, a well-extended treble, fine low-end definition, solid midrange clarity and definition, reasonably sharp transient response, and overall taut impact. There is also a wide stereo spread and a modest amount of orchestral depth. A small degree of soft warmth tends to make the sound easier on the ear than it would otherwise. In all, this is one of Naxos’s better-sounding discs. © 2013 Classical Candor Read complete review

David Hurwitz, June 2013

The two popular overtures, La scala di seta and Il Signor Bruschino, the latter with its tapping violin bows, are especially delightful here at Christian Benda’s quick tempos. The woodwind players, so critical to these pieces, are particularly fine—not a surprise from a Czech ensemble. The oboe soloist at the start of La scala di seta is amazing, and the strings have the necessary ensemble precision and rhythmic bounce to make the performances completely convincing. Fine sound too. Strongly recommended. © Read complete review

WQXR (New York), June 2013

…each track on this album typifies Rossini’s wit and charm and the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra delivers compelling performances of each. © 2013 WQXR (New York) Read complete version, June 2013

…there is a considerable amount of highly enjoyable music that goes well beyond the familiar. In the series’ second release, the Prague Sinfonia Orchestra seamlessly mixes some very lighthearted works with some showing Rossini’s much-more-serious side—opening with a highly dramatic rendition of the all-too-familiar but still exceptionally effective overture to Guillaume Tell. This very well-performed series of Rossini overtures helps put the composer into much clearer focus. © 2013 Read complete review

Lisa Flynn
WFMT (Chicago), June 2013

Rossini’s ceaseless wit and invention are best exemplified in his series of operas. His colorful orchestration and command of both comic and tragic elements can be found in this second of four volumes of the complete symphonic overtures. © 2013 WFMT (Chicago) Read complete article

Brian Wilson
MusicWeb International, June 2013

ROSSINI, G.: Overtures (Complete), Vol. 1 (Prague Sinfonia, Benda) 8.570933
ROSSINI, G.: Overtures (Complete), Vol. 2 (Prague Sinfonia, Benda) 8.570934

…these new Naxos recordings are about as good as it gets.

I have to admit that I’m not the greatest fan of Rossini’s operas—apart from Il Barbiere di Siviglia, Il Turco in Italia and l’Italiana in Algeri, I don’t know them all that well, so perhaps I should repair the omission—but I do very much enjoy the overtures when played with as much panache as they are here. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

Colin Anderson
International Record Review, May 2013

The Silken Ladder opens with a feisty turn from the violins before some eloquent an fancy woodwinds beguile the ears, and the bouncy allegro steals infectiously in…Il Signor Bruschino is equally affectionate and high-spirited as a performance, with tempos, articulations—and those trademark crescendos—well judged.

Sigismondo…opens expansively and includes an extended and florid oboe solo, very nicely played, while all the time there is an increasing portent in the lower reaches of the orchestra, which is disarmed by a nimble and witty section that is riposted in light-hearted fashion, and with a crescendo…these are excellent performances that have been well recorded. © 2013 International Record Review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, May 2013

Let me give a massive welcome to these highly enjoyable and superbly played performances from Christian Benda and a fine Prague orchestra. There is a breath of fresh air blowing through the familiar sounds of the overture to William Tell, and when we continue through the disc, we find an orchestra that can play with complete accuracy the overture to La scala di seta at Benda’s very mercurial tempo. He has compiled a programme where he intersperses the overtures to Rossini’s opera buffo scores with the serious dramas including Demetrio e Ploibio and Sigismondo. Yet Rossini always seemed more at home in the world of comedy, the frothy Il Signor Bruschino one of his great jewels. We also go back to his student days for the Sinfonia di Bologna, written when he was sixteen but already showing signs of an opera composer who would become both the most famous and wealthy of his generation. The Prague Sinfonia is of the size able to produce the light and airy quality on which such music thrives, the quality and intonation of the violins of particular merit. The recorded sound is outstanding. © David’s Review Corner

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