Bassano, Cavalli, Farina, Piccinini, Cima, Mussi, Picchi, Stradella, Pollarolo, Strozzi & Terzi

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COMPOSERS: Bassano,Cavalli,Cima,Farina,Mussi,Picchi,Piccinini,Pollarolo,Stradella,Strozzi & Terzi
LABELS: Signum
ALBUM TITLE: Harmonia Caelestis – Caprice & Conceit in Seicento Italy
WORKS: find works
PERFORMER: Charivari Agreable
CATALOGUE NO: SIGCD 049
Don’t be put off – behind the title

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from a musicology Festschrift and

mail-order heritage catalogue cover

lurks an outstanding disc. It’s not

easy to concoct a 60-minute nonstop

listen from 17th-century Italian

chamber music – but I shouldn’t have

been surprised that Charivari Agréable

makes it such a breeze: ever since

signing to Signum some years back it

has been planning and playing some

peerless programmes.

The sub-subtitle, ‘A Ray of

Sunshine Piercing the Shadows’,

was contemporary French polymath

Mersenne’s verdict on Charivari’s

guest star, the cornett. As a diehard

fellow-fancier, I’ve rarely heard

mellifluous swing to match cornettist

Jamie Savan’s. In the accompanying

booklet keyboard player Kah-Ming

Ng makes a persuasive case for the

novel combos. Ng’s superbly strutting

style in a 1620s Polaccha by Picchi had

me dreaming of Hessian boots and a

pelisse. And his ingenious medleys on

popular grounds of the period give a

new slant to ‘fusion’ – though this is

no short-order snack but a feast, with

substantial servings from Stradella and

Cavalli proving they weren’t solely

vocal geniuses. Sound is a little distant

and coloured but this is a recital to

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shaft any shadow. Nick Morgan