Rossini: Instrumental Music
"What a delightful and surprising disc this is! The two overtures, of course, are well known, the String Sonata somewhat less so, but the remaining works are almost entirely unfamiliar, and they are all delightful. Le Rendez-vous de chasse is a lively piece for winds, with the horns (as the title suggests) well to the fore. The other three pieces are all variations sets, full of delightful writing for woodwinds and charming melodic invention. The instrumental writing is so "vocal" that you might find yourself imagining the actual words (in whatever language works for you).
The performances are as delicious as the music itself. The woodwinds are light and bubbly, the rhythms admirably taut in the two overtures, and the percussion crisp but never overbearing. All of the soloists acquit themselves admirably, and while you might think that the idiom turns tiresome taken in large doses, in reality there's so much timbral contrast--what with pieces for strings, winds, and colorful chamber-like combinations of the two--that you can listen to the entire program at a sitting. And of course, Channel Classics' engineering is state of the art, in all formats. A wonderful release!"