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These string sonatas are pieces I was unfamiliar with. They are interesting and share the qualities we expect from his opera scores. The transfer is excellent.
I was astonished at the dynamic range and stage presence of this transfer. This is a very singular performance of these pieces, and you will have difficulty finding any other recording of them with thIs kind of string ensemble timbre, full-yet-sweet.
During late 1966 & 1968 Michael Bremner, Ken Wilkinson, Alan Reeve and Stanley Goodall got together at the Kingsway Hall to record what was probably at the time the world's most famous chamber orchestra under its Principal Conductor Neville Marriner in Rossini's delightfully fresh, effervescent, tuneful String Sonatas, which weren't - and still aren't - anywhere near as well known as many of his operas and the result was an artistic and sonic triumph, where Marriner and his players brought the scores to vibrant life with crisp, yet varied, rhythmic attack and weight, of tone an extensive dynamic range, beautifully refined textures, sculpted melodic lines, perfectly chosen tempi, humour and a quiet sense of urbane enjoyment. The HDTT remastering reproduces the grooved Argo LP ZRG 506 released in 1967 where the sound was in the same class as the performances, having exceptional clarity and definition, superb internal balance, the Kingsway Hall's acoustic is perfectly captured and the sense of projection and presence were state-of-the-art, indeed no modern recording comes near to equaling this. However in terms of digital remasterings, Bob Witrak's DSD128 download played in native format is simply in a different class to anything that has gone before, preserving all of the originals qualities - including instrumental timbre, which digital sound always struggles with - and if anything a larger dynamic range, although, inevitably, some of the analogue lustre is missing. Nevertheless as said this is now the digital version to go for.
Title: Rossini String Sonatas Nos. 1,3,5 & 6
Artist(s): Academy Of St Martin-in-the-Fields Directed By Neville Marriner
Violin – Carmel Kaine, Charmian Gadd, Diana Cummings, Ernest Scott , Hugh Maguire, Iona Brown, Malcolm Latchem, Norman Nelson, Raymond Keenlyside, Neville Marriner, Sylvia Rosenberg, Trevor Connah
Viola – Kenneth Essex, Stephen Shingles
Cello – Kenneth Heath, Terence Weil
Double Bass – John Gray
Recording Info: Transferred from a 15ips 2-track tape
Recorded by Argo/Decca 6 - 9 September 1966 in Kingsway Hall, London
Engineers - Alan Reeve, Kenneth Wilkinson
Producer - Michael Bremner
String sonata No. 1
1 Moderato 5:08
2 Andantino 4:12
3 Allegro 2:43
String sonata No. 3
4 Allegro 6:04
5 Andante 4:10
6 Moderato 3:14
String sonata No. 5
7 Allegro Vivace 7:45
8 Andantino 3:14
9 Allegretto 3:47
String sonata No. 6
10 Allegro Spiritoso 7:39
11 Andante Assai 2:23
12 Tempesta (Allegro) 5:14