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LABELS: Opus 111 Tesori di Napoli
WORKS: Il giudizio universale
PERFORMER: La Capella De’Turchini/Antonio Florio
This recording presents yet another revelation from the long-neglected Neapolitan archives which La Capella De’Turchini and other groups are plundering for their Tesori di Napoli series. Giuseppe Cavallo is billed as the composer of this sacred oratorio, but it is something of an assumption. Dated 1681, this ‘Oratorio in musica’ – a moralising work on the Last Judgement – bears an attribution to ‘S.r Cavalli’. The famous Francesco Cavalli of Venice? As Dinko Fabris’s note explains, he died five years before and is not otherwise known to have written a work in this genre. Giuseppe Cavallo, a pupil of the series’ other great discovery, Francesco Provenzale and like him maestro of the Conservatorio di Santa Maria di Loreto, is the only other known candidate. Extraordinary, given music of such inventiveness – and the quality is evident from the first, deliciously intense suspensions of the opening sinfonia – that he should have been allowed to disappear from history books. Yet we should remember that his namesake was also scarcely known, more scarcely performed, until his revival in the Seventies. The vocal writing, for a cast including Christ, St Michael, pairs of Angels and Mortals and pairs of Saved Souls and Damned Souls, is beautifully coloured, a subtle mix of the virtuoso and the devout (or the street and the church). With his regionally oriented cast, characterised most strongly in the open-throated, grainy voices of the tenors Giuseppe De Vittorio, Rosario Totaro and Stefano di Fraia, the director Antonio Florio has a golden asset in which he invests judiciously. Stephen Pettitt