Rinaldo Alessandrini, harpsichord and conduction
1700 is the logical and chronological continuation of the previous recording made by Concerto Italiano and Rinaldo Alessandrini, 1600. It collects orchestral works by eight Italian composers, some of them very famous – as Vivaldi and Caldara – and others who are little known – as Michele Mascitti.
1700: the Programme
The composers of the present recording have a feature in common. Even though they all had Italian origins, they moved in different European countries looking for a better employment. Sometimes, this transfer was definitive, as in the case of Michele Mascitti, who remained in Paris until his death, or temporary, as that of Baldassarre Galuppi, who left Venice only for two short periods to visit London and the court of Catherine the Great in Russia. Also, the moving was not always synonym of success. This is the case of Antonio Vivaldi, who went to Vienna to seek his fortune and where instead he died in poverty. On the contrary, Pietro Locatelli was successful both as a composer and as a virtuoso during his stay in Amsterdam.
Our composers were therefore in touch with different audiences tastes and were under the influence of different music traditions. Therefore, 1700 is a varied and heterogeneous recording. It combines rare Baroque works as Michele Mascitti’s Concerto in E minor op. 7, No. 2, Antonio Caldara’s Sinfonia from La Morte di Abel and Baldassarre Galuppi’s Concerto a quattro in E minor with the curiosity for the way in which the composers fulfilled various expectations. Mascitti’s Concerto, for example, reflects the French style he discovered in Paris. Also, the works could be composed for specific occasions. This is the case of Locatelli’s Sinfonia funebre that he wrote as a commemoration for his late wife.
1700: the Performance
As in the case of the recording of the Vespri solenni per la festa di San Marco and of the recording 1600, Rinaldo Alessandrini and the Concerto Italiano give an accomplished performance of these rare Baroque works. Their playing is vibrant and insightful, so that each work is unmistakable. With few vivid traits, the ensemble sketches an almost impertinent beginning for Mascitti’s Concerto in E minor. Also, it creates a tense atmosphere in the first bars of Francesco Geminiani’s Sonata a Quattro. Above all, the warm affection of Durante’s Concerto a quattro is noteworthy, as it permeates the three movements with equal intensity.
Melancholic compositions always reveal sensitivity and self-control. No better example can be found in this regard than Locatelli’s Sinfonia funebre. This work is extremely gloomy and affecting especially in the opening movement, rightly labelled Lamento. The same, attentive control characterizes the Sinfonia from La morte di Abel, which is sad in the Larghetto and animated in the Andante. Vivaldi’s Concerto, on the contrary, is very energetic and sumptuous, even frenetic in the first Allegro, while it appears almost still in the thoughtful Grave, and finally it enlivens again in the final Allegro.