Schubert himself was an able violinist, whose idiomatic writing for the instrument is charmingly evident in his violin and piano sonatas. Moreover, enhanced by sympathetic recording, Biondi and Tverskaya here play a modern copy of a 1740 violin, and a c1820 Graf fortepiano that vividly evoke this music’s fragrant atmosphere. Arresting spontaneity invigorated by Biondi’s stylish extempore ornamentation reveals a potent mix of youthful vigour, ardent passion and delicate poignancy. An essential disc for all Schubertians.
The legendary Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was born 300 years ago, in 1710. To mark the anniversary, Naïve re-issues three renowned recordings to feature his choral music, in a specially-priced box set, headed by the Gramophone award-winning version of his Stabat Mater by Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano, considered one of the best ever recorded…
Also featured in the bargain “3 for the price of 1” set are other short pieces by Pergolesi, plus more by Alessandro Scarlatti and Leonardo Leo.
Preceded by a solemn prologue in which Iride admonishes mortals that they should not offend the gods, the story of Cavalli’s Didone comes to life thanks to numerous solo passages of highly varied character and structure, designed both for simple basso continuo support and for a more complex instrumental accompaniment, for five real parts which enjoy some independent moments and which create a diversion from the action or blend in with it in a wholly logical way, intensifying it in a studied, evocative manner.
With this exciting release, Fabio Biondi, the outstanding Europa Galante, and a cast led by stars Véronique Gens and Vivica Genaux strike a decisive blow for Alessandro Scarlatti's obscure Oratorio per la Santissima Trinità. Old-fashioned even in its day, the work is a musicalized instructional debate about the mysteries of the Holy Trinity between the allegorical personae of Faith, Theology, Faithlessness, Time, and Divine Love. If you're asleep already, it's for good reason. The libretto is the definition of dry – boring both for its rhetorical contrivance and its verbosity. But before you run for the nearest exit, know that Scarlatti responded to this uninspired mess of ideological bickering with outstanding music, entertaining from beginning to end. Drawing only on a small ensemble of strings and continuo, he created an improbably diverse-sounding score full of infectious rhythms, appealing vocal melodies, and rich textures. The recitatives are lavished with the same melodic care and detail as the arias and ensembles, and the personality of each character is etched into his music. Listening, one might think the plot revolves around a love affair, or a social intrigue. Certainly not wave upon wave of phrases like "One cannot believe it, but only raise one's eyebrows in stupefaction." In other words, if you can ignore the text it's an immensely fun listen, and a great example of the stylistic fluidity of Scarlatti's music in 1715.