Saverio Mercadante: Sinfonia On Themes From Rossini's Stabat Mater; Homage To Bellini; Clarinet Concerto No. 2

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Let’s hope this disc represents the start of a series. Mercadante wrote a lot of orchestral music: concertos, fantasias, and whole series of quasi-programmatic pieces...
Let’s hope this disc represents the start of a series. Mercadante wrote a lot of orchestral music: concertos, fantasias, and whole series of quasi-programmatic pieces that he called, probably for want of a better term, “symphonies.” There’s a tendency, in considering 19th-century Italian symphonic music, to begin and end with Martucci, “the Italian Brahms,” on account of that composer’s Germanic orientation. Mercadante’s style, though, was Italian through and through, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The works on this disc are unflaggingly entertaining. Omaggio a Bellini, based on themes from Norma, is delightful – sort of the equivalent of a Liszt operatic piano fantasy, only for orchestra. The Seconda Sinfonia caratteristica napoletana is basically a vivacious tarantella, while the title of the Gran Sinfonia sopra motivi della Stabat Mater del celebre Rossini speaks for itself. As with the Bellini homage, the arrangement is unfailingly well-made and not a note too long (13 minutes in this case).

Mercadante’s Second Clarinet Concerto is a charming piece in two movements, an opening Allegro maestoso followed by an inventive theme and variations finale. You might think that the concluding work, the “Garibaldi” Sinfonia, would be a trashy pot-boiler. It’s based on a popular tune, The Hymn of the Alpine Hunters, and is dedicated to the Italian nation. So a pot-boiler it might be, but trashy it is not–tuneful and energetic rather. There’s no bass drum or cymbals roughing up the texture, and the piece is basically just good fun.

So are these performances, well executed and decently enough recorded, even if the sonics are a mite studio-bound. Giammarco Casani plays the clarinet very attractively in the concerto, and the orchestral contribution, direct and gutsy if not the last word in finesse, suits the idiom. Keep it coming, Naxos!

– David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com


Product Description:


  • Release Date: November 19, 2013


  • UPC: 747313303571


  • Catalog Number: 8573035


  • Label: Naxos


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: Saverio Mercadante


  • Conductor: Francesco La Vecchia


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Orchestra Sinfonica Di Roma


  • Performer: Giammarco Casani