C0570. FRANCESCO QUATTROCCHI Cond. Orch. Sinfonica Abruzzese: Sinfonie avanti l’opera, Orchestral Excerpts from Operas by Piccinni, Paisiello, Anfossi, Luchesi & Cimarosa. (Italy) Bongiovanni 5634, recorded 2006, w.25pp. Brochure. - 8007068563425
"The Abruzzi Symphony numbers only 34 players, clearly eager to please, and their spirited and buoyant playing under the alert leadership of Maestro Quattrocchi benefits from clear, bright sound….an absolute model of such sorely under appreciated fare should be presented."
- Steven J. Haller, AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE, Sept./Oct., 2007
“The immediate predecessor to the modern, multi-movement symphony was the eighteenth century opera overture, particularly as it was cultivated in Italy. Even after the symphony gained currency as a separate entity starting in the 1750s, the multi-movement opera overture continued to thrive until the more efficient single-movement model took hold around 1780. This is the area of the repertoire that Bongiovanni's Sinfonie Avanti l'Opera Intorno a Mozart (Symphonies before the Opera from the Time of Mozart) is designed to explore. Francesco Quattrocchi leads the Orchestra Sinfonica Abruzzese in 10 overtures from the period 1762-1790 in energetic, sparkling, and dynamically three-dimensional performances. While Quattrocchi doesn't favor one overture over the others in terms of treatment, Piccinni's overture to If Finto Turco and Paisiello's to L'Arabo Cortese are noteworthy for their intensely engaging and rousing music, and Paisiello's overture to La Zelmira stands out for its fragmented and eccentric use of rhythm. The others by Anfossi, Lucchesi, and Cimarosa are also fine; there is not a bad one in the bunch.
Often when we encounter such composers on disc, it is in the context of concerti or chamber music, and in the case of Paisiello's piano concerti, an exception of excellence should be made. Concentrating on instrumental literature from this generation of Italians is a little misleading as overall, such composers put the best of themselves into their operas, costly and difficult to resurrect as a whole. No self-respecting eighteenth century Italian composer would dare open an opera with a weak curtain raiser, and this collection does a great job of representing what these now obscure musical figures could do at peak form. The only curious aspect of this package is the fine print designation of 'from the time of Mozart'; certainly none of these works resembles Mozart in more than the most superficial way. However, the notes are well written and are very complete, even including bibliographic citations. Fans of eighteenth century symphonies certainly should not miss this one just simply because the word "opera" is in the title.”
- Uncle Dave Lewis, All Music Guide