Rossini: 6 Sonate a quattro

Rossini: 6 Sonate a quattro

Known principally as an opera composer, Rossini was also a fine writer of chamber music—including these gems for four string players, dashed off in three days in 1804 when he was only 12 years old. While these pieces are usually performed in an arrangement for string quartet, this recording dusts off the original scoring for two violins, cello, and double bass, which gives the music a satisfying and rich texture. Plus, they’re great fun: You can hear Rossini’s wit already well developed in the “Allegro” of Sonata No. 1 and the “Allegretto” of Sonata No. 5. And in the final movement “Tempesta” of Sonata No. 6, there’s a magnificent storm sequence complete with raindrops and howling wind. It is, perhaps, a precursor to the vivid tempest in the famous overture to William Tell—the last of Rossini’s 39 operas.

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