Gioachino Rossini

Duetto buffo di due gatti (Cat Duet), for 2 voices & piano (spurious), QR iv/1

    Description by James Manheim

    Many are the vocal recitals and opera galas that have ended with the Cat Duet as an encore. Though scored for two sopranos and piano, the work exists in orchestral versions and has been sung by male-female pairs and even as a tomcat duet. The text consists in its entirety of the single word "meow," and singers treat the melodies basically however they want to. The origins of this work are cloudy, but historians agree that it is not an authentic work by Rossini. It does, however, contain a good deal of Rossini's music, so the attribution is not completely off the mark. The Cat Duet contains elements of 1) the aria "Ah, come mai non senti," from the second act of Rossini's opera Otello (1816), 2) a nearby duet between the characters Otello and Iago, and 3) an earlier work in the same vein, the "Cat Cavatina" of Danish opera and song composer C.E.F. Weyse. The compiler was probably Robert Lucas Pearsall, a British composer better known for his output of hymns. In 1973, the Schott publishing house issued a facsimile of an 1825 edition of the Cat Duet, published by Ewer & Johanning and credited to Pearsall, but bearing the pseudonym G. Berthold. From Rossini's day down to ours, the piece has never lost its appeal for singers, concertgoers, and cat lovers; it often appears, of course, on compilations of classical music pertaining to felines.

    Appears On

    Year Title Label Catalog #
    2015 Warner Classics 553028
    2012 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099970514
    2012 MDG / Zebralution
    2011 EMI Classics
    2011 Virgin Classics 5099902898421
    2009 EMI Classics / Warner Classics 5099926475
    2009 Erato / Virgin Classics 5099923547
    2009 MDG 3241565
    2008 The Gift of Music 1038
    2008 Virgin Classics 95148
    2006 Summit Records 450
    2006 Nightingale Classics 71360
    2006 EMI Music Distribution 50833
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 5679902
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 67994
    2003 EMI Music Distribution 74206
    2002 Arion 68194
    2002 Albany Music Distribution TROY530
    2001 Centaur Records 2511
    2000 Gala Records 100566
    2000 Globe 6050
    2000 Sain SCDC 2105
    1999 Agora Musica 201
    1998 Nightingale 123452
    1997 Women's Chorus WCD1CD
    1996 EMI Music Distribution 55614
    1995 Move / Move Records MCD 058
    1995 EMI Music Distribution 65463
    1995 BIS 750
    1994 BIS 17
    1992 EMI Classics / EMI Music Distribution 7544112
    1992 EMI Music Distribution / Warner Classics 0777767440
    MusikStrasse 2101.1
    SNE 558
    La Bottega Discantica 015
    River Records 52
    Ades 20419
    Bongiovanni 2516
    EMI Music Distribution 67110