This is now the third recording with which I continue my journey into the world of Rossini’s later works. Here we have a Rossini who clearly enjoyed the closing years of his life, in his beloved Paris, which once again allowed him free rein for his brilliant creativity. One of the results of this freedom was an abundance of mostly shorter character pieces, which he jokingly referred to as “Pchs de Vieillesse”, or “Sins of old age”. These works are typified by their great diversity, and they are the expressions of an exceptional talent who had broken free of musical dogma: ironic, meditative, personal, and unafraid of disapproval or self-deprecation. All of these things can be heard in the works on this CD. For example, irony can immediately be seen in titles like “Valse Torture” (tortured waltz) or “chantillon de Blague Mlodique sur let noires de la main droite” (A sample of melodic nonsense on the black keys for the right hand). This unusual brand of humor is even more clearly marked in “Petit Caprice (Style Offenbach)” where Rossini targets the operettas of Offenbach which were so successful at the time, nor does he spare the pianist, giving the climaxes an almost absurd virtuosity with his use of difficult octave glissandi. The irony is even less restrained in “Des Tritons s’il vous Plat” (Some tritones please), a harmony exercise in disguise which immediately recalls the warming-up exercises of singers. But Rossini shows us a very different face in works like “chantillon du Chant de Nol l’italienne”, intimate and meditative, a distant evocation of an Italian Christmas carol, or “Marche et Reminiscences pour mon dernier Voyage” (March and Reminiscences for my last journey).Download booklet
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