Overtures, Preludes & Intermezzi
Overtures, Preludes & Intermezzi—La Scala Philharmonic/Riccardo Chailly (Decca 4831148)
Riccardo Chailly has been under contract to Decca for 30 years, and the La Scala Philharmonic is his fourth orchestra in that time (the others being the Berlin Radio Symphony, the Royal Concertgebouw and Leipzig Gewandhaus.Orchestra). Chailly is the new music director at La Scala and, if this new disc signals his intentions, audiences in Milan’s prestigious house may soon have a chance to explore a wider range of repertoire, especially Italian repertoire. Each composer name on this disc ends in a vowel, and the program is a canny mix of the familiar (Dance of the Hours, Norma Overture, Pagliacci Intermezzo) and the obscure (Overture to Donizetti’s Ugo, conte di Parigi, a Prelude from Catalani’s Siberia, and music from Leoncavallo’s I Medici). Even the lesser-known pieces leap off the disc: the Act 1 Prelude from I Medici sounds just like music for a Hollywood swashbuckler.