One of the most grown-up review sites around
One of the most grown-up review sites around

Search MusicWeb Here
 

 

International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger

Some items
to consider

 


tenor and baritone


RECORDING OF THE MONTH
A very fine achievement


Complete ballet


Orchestral Music


music that will please greatly


Captivating scores

Symphonies - Philippe Jordan
A pleasure to see and hear


vital imagination


Henrik HELLSTENIUS
A harum-scarum springboard


Always expect the unexpected

REVIEW Plain text for smartphones & printers

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)
Opera Overtures and Concertos
Il prigioniero fortunato – Sinfonia (1698) [3:14]
Concerto grosso No. 3 in F major [6:59]
La caduta de’ Decemviri – Sinfonia (1697) [4:44]
Concerto grosso No. 1 in F minor [7:10]
Concerto grosso No. 6 in E major [7:05]
Scipione nelle Spagne – Sinfonia (1714) [2:26]*
Concerto grosso No. 5 in D minor [5:01]
Concerto grosso No. 4 in G minor [6:33]
La donna ancora fedele – Sinfonia (1698) [2:06]*
Concerto grosso No. 2 in C minor [6:50]
L’amazzone corsara – Sinfonias Acts I & III (1689) [1:11]*
Concerto de’ Cavalieri/Marcello Di Lisa
rec. March 2015, Pontificio Istituto de Musica Sacra Roma
* premiere recordings
DEUTSCHE HARMONIA MUNDI 88985 370012 [54:03]

Recording- and performance-wise, Scarlatti senior has been in the shadow of his son, presumably due to all those keyboard sonatas. Nonetheless, there is no doubt historically that Alessandro Scarlatti was a major player in the early Italian baroque, considered the father of the Neapolitan school of opera. As was the norm in that era, he was prolific with seven hundred cantatas, seventy operas, numerous oratorios, two sets of concertos and some chamber music. Only a small minority of these have been recorded.

The Sinfonias, or overtures as the disc title calls them, come from five operas from his two periods in Naples. In each piece, the structure is fast-slow-fast, in some instances with trumpets and oboes to add grandeur. They are all splendidly entertaining miniatures, even if the style doesn’t change much in the twenty-five years from the earliest (1689) to the latest (1714) presented here.

The six concertos were first published in London fifteen years after Scarlatti’s death, and there was some question mark over their authorship for a time. They are very fine Baroque concerti that can hold their own with the better known ones of Corelli. There are a few complete sets available; the one I have is from Europa Galante on Virgin Classics (now reissued on Erato). I adore this group in Vivaldi, but have been less impressed with their efforts with some other composers. Their Scarlatti concerti are, however, very good and provide a little more characterisation than Concerto de’ Cavalieri’s. That said, even if you do have these works, the excellent opera overtures are an incentive to purchase this new release.

This is the third recording by these performers of Scarlatti’s music, the previous two of sacred and secular vocal music on the CPO label, neither reviewed here. It is also their third release on the DHM label, the previous two of opera arias by Albinoni and Pergolesi, again not reviewed here. Their absence from our site until now is to be regretted because I am very impressed by their playing. It is a period instrument ensemble with twelve string players and two basso continuo, with oboes and trumpets as required for the overtures. However, for those not always enamoured with the over-vigorous playing of some period ensembles (and I include myself in that group), let me assure you that Concerto de’ Cavalieri is very smooth, not given to exaggerated tempos, and indeed I had to consult the excellent booklet notes to confirm that they were indeed playing period instruments. The sound quality is exceptionally good. My only grumble is the running time: surely some more overtures could have been added to the programme.

This is a fine production, and presents the orchestral works of Alessandro Scarlatti in a very good light.

David Barker

 

 




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb



Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

 

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
(THE Polish label)
Altus 10% off
Arcodiva
Atoll 10% off
CDAccord
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Hortus
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sheva £2 off
Sheva Contemporary
Sterling 10% off
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
   
Rob Barnett
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
Editor in Chief
   Vacant
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger