C0001. PIETRO MASCAGNI Cond. Berlin Staatsoper Orch. & La Scala Orch.: Visione Lirica; Canto del lavoro;
Excerpts from Guglielmo Ratcliff, Iris, I Rantzau & Cavalleria (all Mascagni); Guglielmo Tell - Overture (Rossini). VAI 1113, recorded 1927-28. Transfers by Barton Wimble. Very long out-of-print, Final Copy! - 089948111320
“When Mascagni arrived at the Milan Conservatory, he remained only two years before embarking on an unsettled career as an orchestra member and occasional conductor of touring operetta companies. To a competition mounted by the music publisher Sonzogno, Mascagni submitted his third opera, CAVALLERIA RUSTICANA, in February 1890. At its Roman premiere on May 17, an unprecedented success propelled the composer from provincial hopeful to newly minted maestro. The following year, Mascagni enjoyed a more muted achievement with L'AMICO FRITZ. SILVANO brought a return to verismo in 1895, although its reception was less positive than that accorded IRIS, a substantial success in 1899 with a hyper-intense Oriental theme. Recurrently, the composer turned to themes of loss when choosing his libretti, recalling the desolation he felt at his mother's death when he was but 10 years old.
Mascagni continued to compose in the new century, completing ISABEAU in 1911, PARISINA in 1913, LODOLETTA in 1917, and IL PICCOLO MARAT in 1921. As with the overblown NERONE, written in 1935 to please the [Fascist] regime, Mascagni often explored the outer limits of vocal possibility with punishing tessituras and unrelentingly high volume. Still, Mascagni's first opera was so successful that subsequent efforts simply could not equal that initial triumph. His embrace of Mussolini's Fascist regime seemed self-serving during the 1920s and 1930s; at the end, it left Mascagni discredited and impoverished.”
- Erik Eriksson, allmusic.com