This album brings together three of the lesser-known sides of Puccini: it presents his rather rare chamber music along with his decidedly better known opera Gianni Schicchi. The recording of this opera was made at a live, open air performance held a few years ago in Donizetti’s native city with the city’s own Symphonic Orchestra, conducted by Fabrizio Maria Carminati. Clearly, the sound of the recording has undergone a rigorous technical optimization process, which allows all the magic of a live performance to shine through. Roberto Servile, Cinzia Rizzone, and Francesco Piccoli are a few of the members of the cast in this performance. Crisantemi, Elegy for String Quartet, performed here by the famous La Scala String Quartet, was composed in a single night after Puccini heard about the death of the Amedeo di Savoia, Duca d’Aosta, in 1890. The work was subsequently transcribed for a larger group of instruments. Towards the end we also see Puccini’s six compositions for piano – exceedingly rare – Adagio in A Major, Short Waltz, Electric Shock, Page from an Album, Short Tango, and Composition for Piano (1916). These works are performed by Marco Sollini, a pianist we are already familiar with thanks to his recordings of Sergej Rachmaninov (CD 2073, along with Salvatore Barbatano and François-Joël Thiollier) and of Gioachino Rossini (CD 2076, with the principals of the Teatro alla Scala Orchestra and Salvatore Barbatano).
Artwork: Gianluca Corona, Magenta, 2013, oil on wood, 20×24.5cm