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)
Vito Polara is a young ambitious man from the slums of Naples, who wants to get as much power and money as possible. He decides to quit smuggling cigarettes and tries to take over the local fruit and vegetable distribution, which is considered more profitable. After challenging the rural crime boss of the local Camorra, Vito becomes part of his gang and soon his life changes. He moves to a new luxurious seaside apartment and plans to start a family with the beautiful Assunta. At their wedding party, however, and later on, he's about to see who the real boss is.
Antonio Florio’s deep understanding of the Baroque musical terrain of Naples now takes him to the dawn of the 18th century when the fervour and visceral excitement held by Neapolitans for their chief patron saint San Gennaro was at its height, in an era when the city had been ravaged by plague and was living in constant fear of eruptions from nearby Mount Vesuvius. Great devotion was directed at San Gennaro, in the belief that he would ward off further evils: a richly-adorned chapel in Naples’s cathedral was dedicated to him and provided with its own musical ensemble, and a stream of composers (often pupils of the great Francesco Provenzale) such as Cristofaro Caresana, Nicola Fago and Gaetano Veneziano worked there. Central to the programme of I Turchini, prepared by Florio and Dinko Fabris, are performances of Fago’s four-part Stabat Mater and Caresana’s canzona Sirene festose. There is a rare outing also for a motet, Antra valles Divo plaudant, written by the young Domenico Scarlatti – three of whose string sinfonias are also included here – when he was one of the organists in the Real Cappella; musicians in Naples regularly moved in and out of different ensembles, then as now. A booklet essay by Fabris himself splendidly underpins the popular traditions and musical and religious colour surrounding San Gennaro in a Naples still alive today; moreover, an evocation brought to potent life by the performances of Florio, with his singers and instrumentalists of I Turchini.