Excerpts from the original booklet:
is so much gossip in Venice about that Red Priest who doesn't
celebrate Mass, the brother of two law offenders, with too many
theatre actresses around him… and that Annina, a mezzo-soprano
who he obstinately forces to sing as a contralto! Antonio Vivaldi,
teacher, concert artist, composer, enjoys a certain degree of
notoriety in that period. He is considered an excellent teacher.
Those who listen to "his" little orphans of the Santa Maria
della Pietà, say that they have heard the voices of angels.
even writes original music for them. Vivaldi as a concert artist?
His violin performances are very much appreciated. A tourist
guide writes in 1713: "…among the best players of Violin". The
musicologist, Baron Von Uffemback, at the end of one of his
concerts declares: "…I do not believe that anyone has ever played,
or will ever be able to play, in that manner!" Vivaldi is appreciated
as a composer, but he is not greatly in demand. The mass movements
he writes are considered respectfully, up to his task, but nothing
more. He does not have positive relationships with his contemporaries:
Goldoni, Tartini, Benedetto Marcello do not understand him.
But Johann Sebastian Bach studies him carefully and transcribes
a good number of his Concertos, employing them as formal models.
After his death, far away from Venice, he is immediately forgotten,
his face is forgotten, and so is his music. Vivaldi is only
rediscovered during the initial decades of the 1900s. Step by
step, discovery after discovery, the vastness of his production,
that includes all musical genres, is perceived: from the more
than 460 Concertos, to the approx. 90 Sonatas, the 21 Symphonies,
50 theatre pieces, secular Cantatas, single Arias, Sacred vocal
compositions. Today he is one of the most popular, most performed
and most recorded composers. We wish to pay homage to him with
this compact disc, proposing a piece that has been oddly neglected
by the recording industry: "Il Piccolino", about three minutes
of enthralling music that remains engraved in the memory. The
fulminating opening of the Allegro is a whiplash of vitality,
a succession of notes, with the orchestra performing nearly
holding its breath. There follows, to regain breath, a brief
moment of dreamy attendance, Largo, and therefore once again
with a vibrant Allegro that brings to the conclusion.
other great violinist and composer who illuminates that musical
period is Giuseppe Tartini, who is born about ten years after
Vivaldi and about one-hundred kilometres away. A musician of
"transition", he will be the one to mark the passage from the
late-Baroque period to Classicism. A lively and restless man,
he is a great theoretician and technician. For a certain period
he seems set on dedicating himself to the ecclesiastical career
and then, suddenly, he abandons his cassock and marries a young
violinist who is a student of his, Elisabetta Premazore, unleashing
the Bishop of Padua's fury. Tartini does not agree with the
choices of the "opera composer" Vivaldi since "…I have been
urgently requested to compose for the Venetian theatres, but
I have always refused, being fully aware that a throat is not
a violin handle." The musician he prefers referring to is Arcangelo
Corelli, accepting his influence as a model for instrumental
techniques and composition forms. For the public, Tartini is
immediately associated to the violin, with which he is capable
of extraordinary virtuosity. But it would be reductive to only
consider him in this light: he also qualifies as a "theoretician"
of the highest level. He conducts in-depth studies of the instrument,
renews its executing techniques, modifies its structure. Scholars
from all over Eurospe flock to learn as much as possible directly
from him. The "theory of the third sound"(or resultant tone)
arises thanks to his studies. He will also leave behind a great
amount of compositions and important works of musical theory.
We recall him with three unusual pieces: the Concerto in D major
for Viola and Strings, the Concerto in D minor D.45 for Violin
and String Orchestra and the Symphony in A major for Strings.
Originally, the Concerto in D major was composed for "Viola
da gamba"; then, with this instrument's falling into disuse,
the solo part is assigned to the cello. The Viola version that
we are presenting may be considered a musical rarity.
years go by from the Tartini's death and, this time in the deepest
south of Italy, another talented musician is born who makes
his first steps holding a violin and then lands, as a composer,
in the world of opera: Giuseppe Saverio Raffaele Mercadante.
Another period in time, other musical demands, other expectations.
He is born in Altamura, and to be able to enrol in the Real
Collegio di Musica S. Sebastiano he has to pretend to be from
Naples and to be two years younger than what he actually is.
He is accepted and also manages to attend the school without
paying a tuition. He studies violin and, at the same time, harmony
and composition. Nicola Zingarelli, the skilful director of
the Conservatory, where composers such as Vicenzo Bellini and
Errico Petrella have studied, takes Mercadante under his wing
and soon the young man becomes his favourite disciple. It does
not take him long to emerge: at twenty years of age he is already
conductor of the Conservatory's orchestra, attracting the attention
of Rossini and then obtaining the assignment of writing some
ballets for the S. Carlo Theatre of Naples. His choice is made
from this moment on, his attention will principally be turned
to music dramas and, like the most part of musicians of his
generation, he will be following Rossini's footsteps. His operas,
and he composes over fifty of them, are successful and go beyond
the national boundaries. He travels all over Eurospe and stages
his operas in Paris, London, Vienna, Barcelona, Madrid and Lisbon.
But his authoritative creative personality is not only confined
to the music drama sphere: his works, vast and worthy of attention,
also turn to the composition of Oratories, sacred music, Symphonies,
Concertos and Variations. The recording of Variazioni for Horn
and Strings has been a moment of particular importance. It must
be stated in advance that even their concert performance is
a rare event: after the "debut" of 16 September 1825 in Palermo,
with the horn player Felice Sgroppo, it has only been possible
to hear it once again in L'Aquila in 1995, during the bicentennial
ceremonies of Mercadante's birth, proposed by Luciano Giuliani
with "I Solisti Aquilani". The recording therefore represents
another rarity since, to our knowledge, there are no other such
recordings in existence. The Variazioni for Horn and Strings
open with an introduction entrusted to the Strings alone, followed
by a Largo with Horn and a modified Andante, therefore five
Variazioni alternated with the introductory theme for Strings.
The Prima Variazione presents the theme with tied staccato triplets,
the Seconda and the Terza propose an andante with technically
intense wide phrasing. A very expressive and sung Largo distinguishes
the Quarta Variazione. In the Quinta, where the introduction
of Strings is not foreseen, the horn player has the possibility
of developing and putting into light the best of his virtuoso