Born a generation earlier than Spohr, the Italian violinist and composer Alessandro Rolla (1757-1841), briefly the teacher of Paganini, played a part in the introduction of Beethoven’s music into Italy and it is Mozart and early Beethoven that occasionally influence the Duo Concertant recorded here, one of very many duos Rolla wrote for this combination. The first movement, with an extended slow introduction is, at 12 minutes, by far the longest movement on this disc. An Adagio and a sprightly finale complete a work that is simpler and more direct than the Spohr but its Classical roots is nonetheless engaging in this committed performance.
The very name Johann Wenzel Kalliwoda (1801-1866) tends to stick in the memory even if, like Rolla, the music he wrote is completely forgotten. Schumann once referred to him as a “the cheerful, harmonious man, whose later symphonies, with a more laboured foundation, did not reach the height of his first.”
‘Cheerful’, ‘harmonious’ and ‘laboured’ are fairly apt words to describe the Andante moderato of the four-movement duo recorded here. Elsewhere, things are much more engaging – a modest first movement with an Andante introduction; an entertaining, rhythmic scherzo; and a finale marked Allegro risvegliato. This is music from a very prolific composer that has to be taken on a different level. It was presumably intended to entertain with no pretensions, and rounds off this absorbing disc – on which performances and recording are exemplary – on a lighter note.
- This release can be purchased direct from Manor House Music
- Manor House Music