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Opera - Released April 20, 2018 | Rubicon Classics

Hi-Res Booklet
Of course, I quatro rusteghi by Wolf-Ferrari was first performed in Germany, in 1906, but this little masterpiece – actually a great masterpiece – given here in its original Venetian dialect (hence "quatro" rather than "quattro" as proper Italian would have it), was recorded at a "mise en espace" performance of the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic. This is the most inspired work by this Italian-German composer, who is constantly pulled between loyalties to two different nations which forced him to move to Switzerland during the Great War so as not to have to choose sides; we can clearly hear the influence of Verdi's Falstaff, and a little less of the influence of Puccini, although not Gianni Schicchi – which was still years away from being written at the time! For all that Wolf-Ferrari played a key role in the lyrical world of his times, he was refused a place in posterity, possibly because he was too Italian for the Germans and too Germanic for the Transalpines. That said, I quatro rusteghi remains his most-played work to this day, and rightly so: it contains a fearfully spiritual orchestration – including an extraordinary part for solo bassoon, amongst other things – a magisterial vocal ensemble piece and a truculence that takes hold of the listener from beginning to end. We'd love to hear it on French stages too... The album brings together a superb range of young lyrical talents who are surely ones to watch very closely. © SM/Qobuz