The world has not yet fully discovered the riches of the impressive music libraries and archives of Portugal. They testify to the often complex trajectories followed all over Europe by a repertoire of splendid pieces, many of them showing the extent to which the Italian style had taken root in eighteenth-century Portugal. The superb mass by Pergolesi recorded here is a highly characteristic example. But the ensemble Turicum wanted to go even further in their exploration of this repertoire, accompanying the mass with performances of works by composers now totally (and unjustly) unknown, such as Antonio Gallassi and David Perez, not to mention Leonardo leo, acknowledged in his own time as a supreme master of sacred music.
Much as I revere the composer Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), whom I regard as the epitome of musical genius, his preeminence is at least partly an artifact of modern musicology. Monteverdi's music - his madrigals, villanellaas and ritornellos, his masses, and especially his glorious Marina Vespers of 1610 - were all composed in a shared idiom of Italian musicians of his era; Monteverdi's greatness is not his innovation but his felicity. Even his operas were not as sui generis as the modern stagings might suggest, and his greatest opera, L'incoronazione di Poppea, was almost certainly partly the work of Francisco Cavalli… (amazon.com)
For approaching a remarkable quarter of a century Antonio Florio and his colleagues at the Centro di Musica Antica Pietà de’ Turchini in Naples have been successfully breathing new life into the forgotten repertory of the Neapolitan Baroque. Now Florio has made an agreement with Glossa for the San Lorenzo de El Escorial-based label to issue the recordings of the ensemble of singers and instrumentalists, now renamed as simply I Turchini.
The priest Giuseppe Cavallo was Maestro di Canto of the Conservatorio de Santa Maria de Loreto from 1672 until his death in 1684. Otherwise, virtually nothing is known about the composer, and it is only due to the musical archive of the Oratorio di Napoli, a treasure trove of rare scores, that a handful of Cavallo's works survive, including Il Giudizio Universale. This sacred oratorio presents Christ and Saint Michael, a pair of angels, two mortals, and four souls–two damned, two blessed–and begins with Christ commanding the angels to bring on the Last Judgment. What follows is a finely crafted musical drama, except for the confusion caused when the otherwise immaculately presented album fails to reveal which of the seven singers (two sopranos, three tenors, and one bass) is singing which parts. All you can be sure of is that Christ is the excellent bass, Giuseppe Naviglio… –Gary S. Dalkin
La Partenope is a rich and colourful production, superbly performed here by I Turchini Orchestra and conductor Antonio Florio, world-renowned specialists of Baroque repertoire. In this version comic intermezzi have been added, as was customary in the eighteenth century.