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Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1700/01-1775)
Gerusalemme sconoscente ingrate J-C 122 (1759) [37.24]
Confitebor J-C B-5 [7:29]
Symphony in E flat major J-C 25 [6.08]
Symphony in G minor J-C 56 [7.22]
Silvia Mapelli (soprano); Miroslava Yordanova (mezzo); Giorgio Tiboni (tenor)
Filippo Ravizza (harpsichord)
Symphonica Ensemble/Daniele Ferrari
rec. Sala dei Congressi di Villa Vigoni, Loveno di Menaggio, Como, Italy, 24-26 March 2005. DDD
NAXOS 8.570253 [58:13]
Experience Classicsonline

Giovanni Battista Sammartini was a leading figure in eighteenth century musical life in Milan. He was known and rated in particular for his symphonies, of which two (J-C 25, in E flat major, and J-C 56 in G minor) appear here. But he also wrote church music – he was a maestro di cappela and so wrote a Mass and eight cantatas for the Congregation of the Most Holy Sepulchre of Our Lord Jesus Christ and the Solitude of the Most Holy Sorrowing Virgin, which worshipped at the Jesuit church of San Fedele. The cantatas were all written for three solo voices, and include recitatives and arias.

The cantata Gerusalemme Sconoscente Ingrata (Jerusalem, ungrateful and disowning), dating from 1759, opens this disc. The performance is an accomplished one – the orchestra is lively and spirited, although the music is not desperately exciting, the acoustic of the Sala dei Congressi di Villa Vigoni, Loveno di Menaggio in Como was rather too reverberant, and I was not completely convinced by all the soloists. Mezzo-soprano Miroslava Yordanova is good, with her fairly dramatic, mature voice, but soprano Silvia Mapelli doesn’t really create enough power – it is too slight and soft a voice, not robust enough. I was also disappointed by Giorgio Tiboni, who came across as rather strained – his voice might work well for Italian opera, but his rather strangled, far from pretty sounds, do not really work in sublime church music, nor did I enjoy him in the following work. The Confitebor is a contrafactum, setting text from Psalm 110 to the music of an aria from the cantata L’addolorata divina madre. The (short) symphonies are very pleasant works, with elegant and assured composition, and performances here full of conviction and energy. The Presto of the Symphony in G minor brought the disc to a joyful conclusion. Rather mixed works and performances, but the orchestra and conductor at least cannot be faulted.
Other sacred cantatas by Sammartini are available on Naxos 8.557431, 8.557432 and 8.570254.
Em Marshall

see also review by Glyn Pursglove  


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