LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: Villanelle, arie, moresche
PERFORMER: Patrizia Bovi (soprano), Giuseppe De Vittorio (tenor), Rosario Totaro (tenor); Micrologus, Cappelle De’Turchini
CATALOGUE NO: OPS 30-214
These two discs are the sixth and seventh volumes of Opus 111’s ambitious series Tesori di Napoli series, which, if all goes to plan, will finally number around a hundred releases. Vol. 7 is devoted to the mid-sixteenth century villanella, the popular song form which the musicologist behind the disc, Donna Cardamone, asserts was nevertheless composed often with the subtlest skills and consumed by people of the highest social order.
That may be so – and others have recorded such repertoire in performances more crude- but the presentation here of examples by Velardinilello, Cimello, Dentice, da Nola, da Milano, Fontana and di Maio, as well as the inevitable anon, is infectiously entertaining, with much festive percussion and rasping wind instruments crying out for al fresco performance.
Of course it helps that the performers themselves – the vocal group Micrologus and the Capella de’Turchini – are Naples-based, many of them Naples-born. Vol. 6 is a rather more sober affair, devoted to four elegant two-voice sacred motets by the series’ chief discovery thus far (who knows what other unsuspected talents lie in wait?), Francesco Provenzale, taken from his 1689 collection and beautifully sung here by the sopranos Roiberta Invernizzi and Emanuela Galli and the wonderful grainy tenor, quintessentially Neapolitan, of Guiseppe De Vittorio.
Three fine instrumental sonatas – two for three violins and continuo, one for two violins and continuo – respectively by Giuseppe Antonio Avitrano and Pietro Marchitelli, provide variety. These two composer survived long into the eighteenth century, and formed part of a school of violinists which astounded even the mighty Corelli when he paid Naples a visit in 1702. Impeccable readings all the way through from the Capella de’Turchini under the direction of Antonio Florio. Stephen Pettitt