LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: Amore e ombre: duets and cantatas
PERFORMER: La Venexiana
CATALOGUE NO: OPS 30-182
Prolific composer, noted theorist, teacher of Domenico Scarlatti and Benedetto Marcello, Francesco Gasparini was a major figure in early 18th-century Italy. Yet so little of his music has been recorded that today he is probably best known for being Vivaldi’s first boss at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice.
Two solo cantatas aside, duets are the main fare on this disc – not dialogues but soliloquies in counterpoint, a catalogue of love’s torments in the late madrigalian style of Gasparini’s contemporary Lotti. Both singers opt for a forceful approach, to excellent effect in the splendidly energetic ‘Sdegno ed amor’. But they tend to gloss over the more sensuous possibilities of the gentler laments, and are not helped by an extremely close recording. Graham Lock