Antonio Pappano - complete symphonic, concertante and sacred music recordings. Orchestra e Coro dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia. © 2024 Parlophone Records Ltd


A Stupendous Box Set

GERALD FENECH strongly recommends Antonio Pappano's complete symphonic, concertante and sacred music recordings with the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia

'... music-making of exceptional passion and indescribable beauty that exalts the listener to heights of immense joy and feverish excitement.'


Born on 30 December 1959 in Epping, Essex, UK, Sir Antonio Pappano is one of today's most sought after conductors. Antonio's father was musical and, although he worked in the restaurant business, he was, by vocation, a singing teacher. This ambition would later become a reality when the family moved across the Atlantic to Connecticut. By this time Antonio was thirteen years old.

Strangely enough, Pappano did not attend music school; instead, he helped support his father in his business as he grew up. However, he did study music under various teachers including the piano teacher Norma Verilli. It was working as a pianist that led him to become a conductor. After stints as a pianist with the New York City Opera and Frankfurt Opera, he did rehearsal work with the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he came to the attention of Daniel Barenboim, who snapped him up as his assistant. His conducting debut was with the Norwegian National Opera where he left a great impression, such that he eventually landed the post of music director in 1990 when aged just thirty.

Pappano went on to work with some of the biggest names in classical music, including the Vienna State Opera, before becoming music director at the UK's Royal Opera House in 2002. In 2012 this most genial of conductors was knighted for his services to music in both the symphonic and operatic genres and his huge discography is testament to all this. As with all great musicians, Pappano has one particular predilection, of which he speaks so highly of: the Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia in Rome.

Listen — Pablo Casals: El cant dels ocells
(5054197793073 CD1 track 8, 0:44-1:28)
℗ 2007 Parlophone Records Ltd :


Santa Cecilia was my first music directorship of a symphony orchestra. I was very excited about the appointment because I felt that I had to take this step to grow and continue my education as a musician. I think it is only through a long collaboration that you can make something meaningful, and so through these recordings we have a mirror in which we can look and gauge our progress.

Indeed, Pappano's collaboration with the Accademia di Santa Cecilia lasted for eighteen years (2005-2023), and this compilation groups together all the recordings made with this ensemble.

Listen — Respighi: The Triton Fountain in the Morning (Fountains of Rome)
(5054197793073 CD5 track 2, 0:00-0:48)
℗ 2007 Parlophone Records Ltd :

As from September of this year Sir Antonio will be the Chief Conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra.

I really cannot find the proper words to describe this stupendous box set in the way it deserves. All I can say is, this is music-making of exceptional passion and indescribable beauty that exalts the listener to heights of immense joy and feverish excitement.

Listen — Dvořák: Allegro con fuoco (Symphony No 9 in E minor)
(5054197793073 CD13 track 4, 2:25-3:18)
℗ 2012 Parlophone Records Ltd :

The set comprises pieces by no less than twenty-seven composers, and the mixture is indeed varied to the extent that names such as Dvořák, Glazunov, Bruckner, Lalo and Rossini are in the company of more adventurous masters such as Prokofiev, Bernstein, Morricone, Legrand and Kilar.

Listen — Wojciech Kilar: Générique (Le Roi et l'oiseau)
(5054197793073 CD26 track 6, 0:13-0:55)
℗ 2022 Parlophone Records Ltd :

Of course, there is so much more to discover and enjoy, but the group I have listed should suffice to give you a pretty good idea of how this vast programme was compiled and what awaits you.

Listen — Bruckner: Finale (Symphony No 8 in C minor)
(5054197793073 CD27 track 4, 0:00-0:55)
℗ 2024 Parlophone Records Ltd :

Sound quality is generally of a high standard, but what really stands out is the presentation. Indeed, on the front of this twenty-seven CD boxed set there is none other than an image of Sir Antonio welcoming everyone with open arms. A heartfelt invitation, its acceptance of which I strongly recommend.

Copyright © 8 July 2024 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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