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Ricercare e Canzone (Matteo Cicchitti)

Matteo Cicchitti (viola da gamba) (Challenge Classics)

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

Ricercare e Canzoni
Works by Bertalotti, Hume, Hely and Ortiz
Matteo Cicchitti (viola da gamba)
Challenge Classics CC 72918   51:12 mins

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Matteo Cicchitti takes us on an excursion through territory largely unfamiliar to non-viola da gamba specialists – indeed, over half appears to be made up of premiere recordings. His programme of 16th-
and-17th-century music begins with four Recercadas by the Spanish composer Diego Ortiz. Partly didactic and partly, it would seem, to demonstrate the skill of the player, their appeal to non-practitioners of the instrument appears limited.

A group of pieces from Tobias Hume’s Ayres, French, Pollish and others together . . . with Pavines, Galliards and Almaines offer greater variety to the general listener. Likewise four pieces by English composer Benjamin Hely, drawn from The Complete Violist (and new on disc), whose disparate motifs, sometimes sacred, sometimes secular, often have an improvisatory character. The Ricercares of Bolognese composer Bertalotti, also receiving their first recordings here, date from the very end of the 17th century and were printed under the title Regole facilissime per apprendere con facilità e prestezza li canti fermo e figurato. Though intended as vocal music for soprano and alto, Cicchitti makes a strong case for instrumental performance. This programme may be of specialist interest, but it is executed with panache and absolute conviction.

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Nicholas Anderson