Rossini’s Six String Sonatas, scored for two violins, cello and double bass, date from 1804, and were all composed in three days – the composer was just 12 years old! They display an astounding precociousness, and a sound grasp of the music of Haydn and Mozart. Each player is given his own voice, and each work poses considerable difficulties for the players – especially the second violin part, which Rossini wrote for himself. There is a surprising amount of emotional depth to be found in these works that belie the age of the composer – the Second Sonata is a good example, where Mozart’s influence is at its most potent.
Twelve student instrumentalists from the Accademia di S. Cecilia formed I Musici in 1952. Praise came early from Arturo Toscanini: ‘Twelve capable lads of 18, a perfect chamber orchestra. I applaud them!’ I Musici soon became one of the leading European chamber ensembles, specialising in the music of the Italian Baroque, but later embracing Haydn, Mozart and Beethoven, and contemporary music.
Recording made in 1971
“I Musici give their usual polished performances … beautifully eloquent playing the artists give the more serious movements … the performances can be safely recommended, and the recording does not fail to pay sufficient respect to
the tone and agility of the double bass.”
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