Alessandro Rolla (1757-1841, Italian)

Because Alessandro Rolla, born in Pavia in 1757, lived so old (1841), it means he was born only a year after Mozart, but outlived Paganini (born 1782) by a year. In fact, he taught 13-year-old Paganini, and even young Verdi (then aged 20) came to him for advice in 1833.

But it probably speaks a ton about Rolla’s posthumous success that the early Erato CD, ECD 75397 (1988), by which I heard a few of his Concerti, Divertimenti and Sinfonia recorded by Claudio Scimone and his ensemble I Solisti Veneti in June 1987, was never reissued, and not even, as far as I could establish, released in Japan.

In fact the music sounds very like the concertos of Paganini, although the influence is obviously Rolla to Paganini rather than the other way around: music rooted in the Classical era of Haydn and Mozart certainly, but that considerably simplified and bastardized its language, music of early 19th-century opera, mellifluous but with an orchestra reduced to formulaic underpinning. It provides an hour of charming if superficial entertainment, but no deeper impression.