Respighi’s Fantastic Toyshop and Magic Pot – Noseda (Chandos)

0 of 5 stars

La Boutique fantasque
La pentola magica
Bach orch. Respighi
Prelude and Fugue in D

BBC Philharmonic
Gianandrea Noseda

Recorded 2, 5 & 6 October 2002, Studio 7, New Broadcasting House, Manchester

Reviewed by: Colin Anderson

Reviewed: September 2003

What a delightful confection Respighi made out of miscellaneous piano works by Rossini for La Boutique fantasque. Gianandrea Noseda has created sparks with the very responsive and committed BBC Philharmonic – his contract as Principal Conductor is extended until 2008. He shapes La Boutique with great affection for its melodies, lively dances and its theatrical life as a ballet. He equally relishes Respighi’s superb orchestration; yet sometimes the percussion is rather crudely projected and he is a mite too stealthy with the faster sections; just occasionally articulation is traded for the thrill of the chase. But there’s much to enjoy, not least some sensitive playing in the more lyrical numbers, and this is such an enjoyable work.

The revelation is La pentola magica, another ballet, hardly known, but not it seems a first recording. It’s a haunting score, eleven vignettes lasting 25 minutes, with a taste of the Orient, as distilled by Borodin and Rimsky-Korsakov. Indeed, Respighi borrows a few pieces from the likes of Grechaninov and Arensky, the latter providing the resplendent ’Entry of the Tsar with the Bridegrooms’, rather Elgarian.

To close, Respighi’s sumptuous orchestration of Bach’s D major Prelude and Fugue – organ becomes orchestra in the most persuasive and thrilling way. An exuberant rendition is served up here; a nice appendix to Leonard Slatkin’s Bach Transcription disc with the BBC Philharmonic on CHAN 9835, which includes Respighi’s version of Bach’s C minor Passacaglia and Fugue.

A warm welcome, then, to Noseda’s vibrant CD.

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