The 232th birth anniversary of Gioachino Rossini

February 29, 2024 | Tchaikovsky Concert Hall
Subscription series No. 24: «National Philharmonic Orchestra of Russia»
Soloist – Alexander Ramm, cello
Conductor – Vladimir Spivakov
Bellini. “Norma” Overture
Saint-Saëns. Concerto No. 1 for cello and orchestra in A minor, Op. 33
Tchaikovsky. Nocturne for cello and orchestra
Rossini. "l Barbiere di Siviglia" Overture
Mendelssohn. Symphony No. 4 («Italian») in A major, Op. 90

This year's 29th of February is the 232th birth anniversary of  composer Gioachino Rossini, the author of world-known opera masterpieces such as Il barbiere di Siviglia, La gazza ladra, Il viaggio a Reims, La Cenerentola, Semiramide, Guillaume Telle. Heinrich Heine nicknamed him as “The sun of Italy”, Pushkin called him “Europe's darling Orpheus”, while Verdi wrote 'A great name, the most popular one in our times'. Many his contemporaries used similar rhapsodic expressions when speaking of Rossini, while Stendhal compared his fame ('having reached every place touched by civilization') with that of Napoleon's.

However, fed up with this splendor, Rossini totally discouraged the world of music when at the apogee of adoration and mastership, being only 37 years old, he broke his breathtaking career. He lived for more 40 years without composing any other opera. However, sporadically, just for himself, he wrote music in other genres.

Remembering Rossini's birthday (which may be celebrated only once in four years), Vladimir Spivakov designed a program which compiles works by the “man of the day” and his younger contemporaries. These are the composers, whom Rossini sincerely liked (not without reciprocity), with whom he met and whom he could help anyhow. 

Vincenzo Bellini considered Rossini to be “the musician of the century”, a great maestro, whom he adored and whose favor he needed. He asserted that 'it is impossible to write anything more beautiful than Rossini's music'. In his turn, Rossini highly appreciated the talent and aptitude of the younger colleague ('Bellini has a happy natural gift to create simple melodies full of genuine sensitivity'), loved him as “a son” and helped him to conquer one of the main music capitals of the world - Paris. Soon after Bellini's triumph and sudden death, Rossini made efforts to organize his funeral and erect a monument to his memory.

Rossini also supported young Camille Saint-Saëns whose early opus the sharp-witted Italian presented as his own and later informed the society to whom their praises should have been really addressed. At the composer competition guided by Rossini, Saint-Saëns got the prestigious Rome Award. Rossini met in Frankfurt with Felix Mendelssohn-Bartoldi, already the author of the Italian Symphony, and they shared their musical impressions. Mendelssohn played his piano pieces for his elder friend (Rossini especially liked his Songs without Words) and works by other German composers which were also enthusiastically approved by Rossini. According to Ferdinand Hiller, 'Rossini, in his older age, most warmly remembered these encounters with Mendelssohn and very vividly expressed his admiration for his talent'.

The program will also feature the Nocturne for cello and orchestra by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky who wrote: 'There is nothing more enticing than the easy, spontaneous gaiety of Rossini's music. It is so coquettishly nice, charming, sincere, like no other light music, that, together with  Rossini's unique harmonic art to write for a voice so that the singer could enjoy and relish the melody and his brilliantly cunning instrumentation, it would result in an exemplary inimitable lyrical score'.


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