- Péchés de vieillesse, Book 7 (Album de chaumière)
- Péchés de vieillesse, Book 9 (Album pour piano, violon, violoncelle, harmonium et cor): 1. Mélodie candide
- Péchés de vieillesse, Book 9 (Album pour piano, violon, violoncelle, harmonium et cor): 3. La savoie aimante
- Péchés de vieillesse, Book 9 (Album pour piano, violon, violoncelle, harmonium et cor): 2. Chansonette
- Péchés de vieillesse, Book 9 (Album pour piano, violon, violoncelle, harmonium et cor): 4. Impromptu taranrellisé
Even 50 years ago, Rossini's operas were regarded as fun but lightweight, and his piano music was all but unknown. Wagner's self-aggrandizement was to blame for the former state of affairs, and a more general dourness for the latter (High Modernism, to borrow a phrase from Sarah Silverman, tended to resent all laughter). How things have changed in a satire-minded time! The booklet for this inaugural double disc in a new series devoted to Rossini's complete piano music comes very close to dividing the composer's career into two halves of equal weight, and the buyer interested in the "Péchés de viellesse" (Sins of Old Age) can choose from several complete sets and excerpts, including "authentic" versions on pianos from Rossini's time. The acid test for performances of these pieces is the ability to tell a tall tale in music, to sustain a humorous conceit over structures that are in some cases fairly broad. A few of Rossini's piano pieces, like the "Petite polka chinoise" (Little Chinese Polka, track 3), might be called the musical equivalent of one-liners, and others are pure experiments, but many lead the listener fairly far down a fanciful train of thought. The young Italian pianist Alessandro Marangoni performs these pieces in a subdued style that shows a strong grasp of their slyness and their orientation toward the just slightly off-kilter detail. Try the blandly named "Prélude inoffensif" (one of many titles in this body of work that bring Satie to mind) on CD 1, track 5, where Marangoni brings out the comic effect of oddly random figurations in a simple and almost static harmonic environment. Listeners can decide for themselves what is being depicted in the "Petite valse, L'huile de Ricin," CD 1, track 6. Both works are more than 10 minutes long, but the jokes don't seem drawn-out in Marangoni's hands, and indeed the music seems to reflect something of the modern composer's predicament. Highly recommended, and definitely an inducement to keep an eye (or an ear) out for future releases in Marangoni's series.