A & D Scarlatti

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: A & D Scarlatti
LABELS: Virgin Veritas
WORKS: Concerti grossi & Sinfonias
PERFORMER: Europa Galante/Fabio Biondi
CATALOGUE NO: VC 5 45495 2
Most of the music on this disc is by Domenico Scarlatti’s gifted, prolific and versatile father, Alessandro. The substance of the programme is contained in Alessandro’s Sonata for treble recorder, two violins and continuo, the ninth in a set of 12 Sinfonie di concerto grosso (1725), and his set of Six Concertos in Seven Parts, which were probably first printed in London in about 1740, 15 years after his death. By and large they are conservative pieces, sometimes stiff and shortwinded in their melodic invention. But they are pleasing, all the same, with plenty of alluring inflections and expressive variety. This is especially true of the Sixth Concerto, which contains a playful fugue, bringing to mind another in the Seventh Concerto of Handel’s Op. 6, published at the same time, a richly modulating Largo and a very graceful concluding minuet. The performances disclose much of the harmonic richness of the music and are less fussy and fanciful in their ornaments than has sometimes been the case with this ensemble. The three Domenico Scarlatti sinfonias are attractive and are played with spirit, but only the fine Sinfonia prefacing Alessandro’s serenata Clori, Dorino e Amore is, I believe, entirely new to the catalogue. At the moment, the present performances of Europa Galante under the direction of violinist Fabio Biondi comfortably outshine any piecemeal rivals. Nicholas Anderson