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Rossini: Petite Messe Solennelle

Rossini Duo Tal & Groethuysen
Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks
Conductor: Peter Dijkstra
Hanft, Mühlemann, Vondung,
Cutler, Volle

Release: April 11, 2014
Label: Sony Classical

Gioachino Rossini (1792 - 1868)
Petite Messe Solennelle for soli, chorus, two pianos and reed organ

Total playing time: 78:20
Recording date: October 24 - 26, 2013
Recorded at: Prinzregententheater Munich
Sound Engineer: Torsen Schreier

“Talking of music, I don’t know if you are aware that I have composed a Messa di Gloria for four voices, which was given its first performance in the Palais of my friend Count Pillet-Will. This mass was performed by capable artistes […] and accompanied by two pianos and a harmonium. The foremost composers of Paris (including my poor colleague Meyerbeer, who is no longer among the living) praised me highly, although I do not deserve it. I have been urged to orchestrate it, so that it can be performed in one of the churches in Paris. I am reluctant to undertake such a task, because I have invested all my meagre musical knowledge in this work and because I have worked with a true love of religion.”

This is what Rossini wrote to Liszt in his humorous and witty way in 1865. In fact he did later secretly orchestrate the work, for fear that someone else might do it and destroy the specific character of this delightful composition.

As regards its length and depth, however, the “Petite Messe Solennelle” is anything but little. The adjective refers to the number of singers at the première, only twelve including the soloists, which is very intimate. There is probably no other work that infuses the sacred text with so much warmth, without descending into the folkloristic. Constantly noble and powerful, the music reflects in a natural and authentic manner the feeling of a belief that is at home both on earth and in heaven.

We have a special affection for this mass and have long cherished the wish to record the work. So we are greatly looking forward to the concert in Munich at the end of October 2013 and the subsequent CD production with Peter Dijkstra and the Bavarian Radio Chorus, as well as to the guest performance at the 2014 Lucerne Festival at Easter.


Podcast Radio
France 25.12.2020

A love declaration in four minutes: „La vie serait moins belle sans…“La petite Messe solennelle“

Rossini, Petite Messe solennelle par le Duo Tal & Groethuysen et le Choeur de la Radio bavaroise sous la direction de Peter Dijkstra.

„….Il canto del cigno di un uomo e di un artista che si sentiva a casa sua sia sul palcoscenico di un teatro che tra le navate di una chiesa: sia in terra che in Paradiso“

"Bon Dieu… la voilà terminée cette pauvre petite messe. Est-ce bien de la musique sacrée que je viens de faire, ou bien de la sacrée musique ? J’étais né pour l’opéra buffa, tu le sais bien ! Peu de science, un peu de cœur, tout est là ".


Petite messe ou petit péché?
Peter Dijkstra interprète Rossini sans se prendre au sérieux

On connaît l’histoire de cette Petite Messe Solennelle composée en 1863 à la demande du comte et banquier Alexis Pillet-Will pour la consécration de la chapelle de son hôtel particulier parisien : Rossini, qui, à soixante-et-onze ans, s’était bien promis de couler une paisible retraite, a eu toutes les peines du monde à mener au bout cette œuvre qu’il considérait comme son ultime « péché de vieillesse ».