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Rossini the sinner!
Rossini's sins not so well known as they should be!
Rossini's sins, id est Rossini's Sins of his Old Age (Péchés de Vieillesse) to be exact, are not so universally well know as they should be.
        A great part of this collection of Sins has been developed with piano in mind and especially piano solo. They have been collected into 14 different Albums, which were published after the death of Rossini, through an auction organized by Rossini's widow Olympe Pélissier. The music for solo piano is to be found principally in the Volumes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, 12 and in part also 9.

Rossini's sins are the quintessence of the Music of Friends
Rossini's sins were written between 1857 and 1868, when the composer left the world of Operas, in order to live more peacefully surrounded only by good-cooking, his second wife and a few friends... and to understand how much he really wrote, led by his never-to-be-exhausted creative vein, consider that La Petite Messe Solennelle should be part of the Péchés corpus and that only the 14 Books of Sins alone (without la Messe) contain music for almost 20 hours.
        Such works for piano solo or for chamber music ensemble (and very often also with vocal parts) were originally conceived by Rossini exclusively for his close friends who used to attend his famous Saturday Soirées in the drawing room of his house in Passy (Paris): so that's why this so extremely peculiar salon music can be really considered the quintessence of the so called Music of Friends with his extra-long tradition well rooted in the 18th century musical practice. Were not also Rossini's first miraculous compositions the 6 Sonate a Quattro (composed when he was just a young 12-year-old boy prodigy in 1804) just Music of Friends?

Rossini's bizarre titles
Rossini's works for piano solo in this collection are really beautiful, bizarre and somehow astonishing: you will recognize multiple elements of reference (also on an incredible technical level) to various styles of pianism, and especially to those of his illustrious friends, like Chopin and Franz Liszt (see Memento homo for example).
        The works often have extremely bizarre titles, which Rossini himself invented and there are stories that some of them, in their original form, were so strange and almost incomprehensible that the publishers (at the end of the 19th century) decided to change a few of the them for the sake of major clarity.
        There is a reference to food and cooking in these pieces by Rossini (from Les Hors d'oeuvres with a Theme & variations Anchois up to le Petite Valse L'Huile de Ricin), but also melancholic and demi-tragicomic meditations on death with a continuous very difficult to catch pendulum movement between extreme seriousness and a hilarious joie de vivre. Under a certain point of view, one can already see in a few pieces also the amazing forerunners (both in the music and in the title) of those future piano works by composers such as Alkan and Satie and others of 20th century...
        The pianist, Stefan Irmer, finally does them justice!
        ... Because, unfortunately, this huge collection of works for piano solo (ca. 10 hours of music) is really really such a neglected great repertoire by one of the greatest natural born geniuses in music composition history... And finally Irmer is capable of presenting these (somehow still mysterious) private works by the great composer, by respecting and expressing all those extra-difficult multifarious levels of tones of pianism and of sprezzatura which are strictly required.
        The publishing of the complete box of 8 CDs in 2018 is really a great occasion of rediscovering such peculiar masterpieces by Rossini and of considering the possibility of adding them also to one's own concert repertoire... 

Rossini - Péchés de Vieillesse (Complete Piano Works):

Rossini - Péchés de Vieillesse (

Stefan Irmer
Rossini - Péchés de Vieillesse (Complete Piano Works)
S. & L.M. Jennarelli