Melbourne Symphony Orchestra: Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle

Some of the notable options of Rossini’s Petite messe solennelle from 1864 is how missing in solemnity a lot of it’s. With a working time of roughly 90 minutes it isn’t precisely “petite” both. What Rossini referred to as his “unpretentious piece” is maybe made much more deceptively unassuming within the setting chosen by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

The unique instrumentation for 2 pianos and harmonium remained Rossini’s most well-liked model, versus his personal orchestral model, which he claimed to have composed mainly so as to deter others from doing so. There isn’t a doubt {that a} mere three devices – even lower than that in varied sections – enable for better readability of the vocal strains, and conductor Warren Trevelyan-Jones made each effort to look at particulars of dynamics and cohesion.

The Kyrie opens with a quiet A minor working bass half within the piano adopted by a hushed choir entry and a collection of crescendos and diminuendos – expertly negotiated by the choir – that quickly modifications to a sunny main key. Even in a minor key Rossini’s reward for a great tune lifts the spirits. The primary of the a capella sections got here with a really properly blended “Christe Eleison” within the model of Palestrina. Good intonation continued within the unaccompanied choral outburst of the Gloria that adopted the grand piano flourish.

Most of the sections of the sections for the 4 soloists start with the bass and Jeremy Kleeman’s robust voice and assured musicality led the best way, introducing high-quality work by all soloists all through. Starting the succession of what are primarily operatic arias, Nicholas Jones used his enticing tenor voice for a vibrant “Domine Deus”. Soprano Kathryn Radcliffe and mezzo-soprano Deborah Humble have been splendid within the “Qui tollis”. Radcliffe’s voice has nice magnificence in softer sections and floated with resonant ease excessive of Humble’s richly textured voice. A lot of the writing for the mezzo-soprano is about low, placing this line at risk of being overwhelmed by different voices. Humble’s substantial, unforced, flowing tone projected with satisfying energy in all ensembles, and probably would have completed so even within the orchestral model. Kleeman sang the quite jaunty “Quoniam” firmly and with even tone all through an intensive vary – the vitality of his singing at all times a pleasure to listen to.

The MSO Refrain managed to efficiently seize the dancing lightness of the “Cum Sancto Spiritu” prolonged fugue, concluding the Gloria on a cheerful word with cleanly delineated agile Amens. The Refrain was in splendidly emphatic kind for the start of the Credo, quickly interleaving quieter moments with the soloists, with restatements of “Credo” and exclamations from the piano. After the “Crucifixus”, sung with sincerity and customarily beautiful tone by Radcliffe, Refrain and soloists continued till a buoyant “Et vitam venturi” concluded the part.

The instrumental Prélude réligieux, started with a brief piano solo, continued with a extra prolonged harmonium solo, performed with thought-about musicality and a variety of attention-grabbing registrations by Donald Nicolson, and eventually led into the choral starting of the Sanctus. Rossini has made some uncommon ensemble mixtures with the soloists, the repetitions “Hosanna in excelsis” with unaccompanied unison pairings of mezzo/bass and soprano/tenor being examples. The power of the Refrain and soloists to take care of pitch in such an extended unaccompanied part was extraordinarily spectacular. The following tuneful soprano solo with piano “O salutaris hostia” was adopted by the spotlight of the night: an impressive efficiency of the prolonged concluding part of the work, the Agnus Dei.

In additional solemn temper, we heard a very shifting mixture of a mezzo-soprano soloist, an interweaving refrain, and the nice and cozy underlay of the harmonium towards a repeated throbbing determine from the pianos, performed by Jacob Abela and Tom Griffiths. The depth and great thing about Deborah Humble’s voice and her musical ardour appeared ideally suited to this arrestingly dramatic part.

It’s a pity we don’t hear Rossini’s not-so-little masterpiece extra usually. Not less than enthusiastic applause on the finish of the efficiency steered that this outing was drastically appreciated.

Picture provided.


Heather Leviston reviewed Rossini’s “Petite messe solennelle”, carried out by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra Refrain on the Melbourne Recital Centre, Elisabeth Murdoch Corridor on Could 28, 2022.