About the album
This seventh CD of Rossini's music comprises the remaining eight works from the 'Album de Chteau' (Castle Album). And if you happen to be expecting music about gallant Knights hastening to the rescue of noble Damsels, then you're in for a disappointment. In true Rossinian fashion, not one of these pieces has anything to do with castles or other medieval tableaux. Rossini, here as in his other albums, seems to be thumbing his nose at the musical establishment. It may well have been a kind of ironic wink to the publishers, who were more interested in the title of a composition than in its content because of the potential effect on sales. Fortunately for Rossini, who was ageing and well-to-do by this time, he could afford to ignore such priorities. The CD begins with a 'Prlude Prtentieux' (Pretentious Prelude); pretentious not only in character but also in its polyphonic structure. Here Rossini has written a genuine fugue, using the form to show his reverence for Bach. Then comes the 'Spcimen de Mon Temps' (Specimen of my Times). This work is the second of a trilogy, the first of which can be heard on the sixth Rossini CD and the last of which closes the present recording. Judging by the work's jolly character, Rossini seems to be quite pleased with current developments. The 'Valse Anti-Dansante' (Anti-dancing Waltz) is, as indicated by the title, a crooked waltz suitable for anything but dancing! The pastoral character of the 'Prlude Semipastorale' (Semi-pastoral Prelude) is sliced in half, not to say completely destroyed, in its playful and virtuosic second section. The following 'Tarantelle Pur Sang (avec Traverse de la Procession)' (Full-blooded Tarantella (with the Procession Crossing Through)) is in safe hands with Rossini. This famously wild Italian folk dance has inspired numerous composers including Liszt and Paganini. Rossini's version, true to the nature of the dance, is an exciting piece full of pianistic gymnastics. Twice, Rossini's sense of humor takes over when the breakneck tempo is rudely interrupted by the chiming bells of the crossing procession. 'Un Rve' (A Dream) initially appears to be part of a sound night's sleep, but soon it changes into a dramatic nightmare. In the 'Prlude soi-disant Dramatique' (So-called dramatic Prelude), Rossini shows his romantic, quasi-Chopin side. In conclusion you can hear the 'Spcimen de l'Avenir' (Specimen of the Future), which closes the trilogy. A searching introduction brings in a monumental theme whose development grows steadily more and more impressive and compelling until it reaches its final and ecstatic apotheosis. If we believe in Rossini's vision of the future, then we don't have a thing to worry about!
12Spécimen de Mon Temps
15Tarantelle Pur Sang, Avec Traversée de la Procession
17Prélude Soi-distant Dramatique
18Spéciment de L'Avenir