Rossini: Pet Messe Solennelle (Alexandrina Pendatchanska/ Manuela Custer/ Mirco Palazzi/ Riccardo Chailly/ Stefano Secco) (EuroArts DVD: 2057428)
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On the occasion of the 140th anniversary of the composer's death, crowds gathered at the Leipziger Gewandhaus to witness a world-class performance of one of Rossini's two largescale, major choral works: the Petite Messe solennelle. Riccardo Chailly - whose 'genius for the Rossini style has ripened with the years' (Gramophone) - leads a spectacular ensemble of four internationally renowned singers, the combined forces of the Choir of the Leipzig Opera and the Gewandhaus Choir, and the Gewandhausorchester; their harmonious, ethereal rendition receives a heartfelt ovation that affirms the beguiling effect of the last of Rossini's 'sins of old age'. Gioacchino Rossini's Petite Messe Solennelle was written in 1863, \the last", the composer called it, of my''peches de vieillesse" (sins of old age). For its first performance (1864) Rossini arranged the work with only two pianos and harmonium. Partly for fear that it would be done anyway after his death, Rossini discreetly orchestrated the Petite Messe Solennelle during 1866-67, without losing its candor and subtlety. The resulting version had its first public performance on 28 February 1869, three months after the composer's death."