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Puccini: Messa di Gloria; Max 63% OFF Preludio Sinfonico; Excellence Crisantemi

Puccini: Messa di Gloria; Preludio Sinfonico; Crisantemi

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Puccini: Messa di Gloria; Preludio Sinfonico; Crisantemi

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Roberto Alagna and Antonio Pappano are two-thirds of the EMI triumvirate (corresponding member, Angela Gheorghiu), which has done well by Puccini on previous discs. Although this one steps outside the operatic canon into the lesser margins of the composer's output, it's all done so eloquently you forget how undistinguished the material sometimes is. Pappano and the London Symphony Orchestra are clearly in the middle of a love affair and seem to understand each other's every move. Alagna sails through his three sections, making slightly heavy weather of the "Gratias with worrying signs of a widening vibrato, but happy enough in the oddly amiable Agnus Dei" duet with Thomas Hampson. Ffor a good example of the current all-round health of the LSO after several years of conservative core-repertory craft under its chief conductor, Colin Davis, listen to how beautifully the strings phrase the enlarged string quartet movement Crisantemi, which, together with the Preludio sinfonico, makes a welcome filler. --Michael White

Review

Unlike Verdi's Messa solenne (reviewed on page 67 of the March 2001 issue), which actually is a 'Messa di Gloria' or Missa brevis, Puccini's youthful work is a full setting of the Ordinary of the Mass more than 45 minutes in duration. Where Verdi looks across the Alps and dons the clothing of the Austro-German tradition, Puccini takes a different approach. He flexes his contrapuntal muscles in celebration of earlier Italian polyphony, yet the work's harmonic language at times predicts his later role as a genuine modernist. In addition, some of Puccini's oblique chord progressions recall Beethoven's modal archaisms in the Credo of the Missa solemnis, while Puccini's 'Cum sancto spiritu' strikingly echoes Beethoven's fugue on 'in gloria Dei Patris. Amen'. Rich and robust, if not yet fully integrated in style, the work has an attractive vigour and already evinces impressive orchestral assurance. The piece merits a performance as good as this one. The London Symphony Chorus and Orchestra perform beautifully for Antonio Pappano, who achieves a naturally expressive ebb and flow without distorted exaggeration. The two starry soloists have less to do, with Thomas Hampson's contributions coming near the end. In the 'Gratias agimus', Roberto Alagna sounds clangorous and tight-throated in alt, though he settles down somewhat in the 'Et incarnatus'. Hampson is much more refined in the 'Benedictus' and they both blend effectively in the Agnus Dei (if not in a way that allows one to imagine them as Manrico and Luna in the conductor's forthcoming EMI recording of Il trovatore). Pappano is careful not to separate Puccini's mixed colours and the warm recorded sound helps him in this. The Preludio sinfonico and the touching Crisantemi form an appropriate frame for the Mass. Pappano understands that the larger chrysanthemums of Puccini's string orchestra version require more restraint than the delicate blooms of the string quartet original. A very satisfying disc. Stephen Pruslin -- From International Record Review - subscribe now

Puccini: Messa di Gloria; Preludio Sinfonico; Crisantemi

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