Thursday, January 16, 2014

Mercadante: Italian classicism at its best

Saverio Mercadante
Gran Sinfonia sopra motivi dell Stabat mater del celebre Rossini
Orchestra Sinfonica di Roma
Francesco La Vecchia, conductor
Giammarco Casani, clarinet

"Omaggion a Bellini" and the "Gran Sinfonia sopra motivi dello Stabat Mater del celeb re Rossini" owe a lot to their source material. Mercadante is an imaginative arranger, but its the quality of the tunes that carry these works.

The "Seconda Sinfonia caratteristica napoletana" reminds me somewhat of Mendelssohn's "Italian" Symphony. The Neapolitan melodies and rhythms are orchestrated in a similar fashion -- with two major differences. First, Mercadante's Sinfonia is shorter and lighter. Second, Mercadante's speaking the musical language of his own country, instead of interpreting it second-hand as Mendelssohn did.

"Garibaldi - Sinfonia a grand'orchstra sopra l'inno dei cacciatori delle Alpi," also interprets Italian folk music for the concert stage, but in a much more serious fashion. Mercadante's work celebrates Italian unification, giving the work greater emotional weight than the light hearted Second Sinfonia.

All in all a pleasing program of Italian orchestral music from the early 19th century.

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