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Una Sera Siciliana
Harpsichord Music

Annamari Pölhö with Ballo della Battalia
Alba ABCD 150 [57.59]

A late arrival from Alba following the batch of excellent early music CDs from Finland reviewed recently. This was ideal music to unwind with after a demanding European tour for S&H.

Bernardo Storace (dates uncertain) flourished in Messina during the later 17C. His only published compositions date from a collection of 1664, mainly variations on popular grounds. There are passacaglias, toccatas, canzonas, and a nearly 10 minute Aria sopra la Spagnoletta.

These are mostly substantial pieces requiring virtuosity and imagination, both well in evidence here. All the pieces were originally for solo harpsichord or organ, but for some of them Annamari Pölhö takes a relaxed view and 'in order to have some shared fun - - I asked the Ballo della Battalia boys  (photo) to play continuo for me to have a taste of an after dinner entertainment, with some wine left and candles ablaze'. Lute, guitar, vihuela, viols and percussion all join in the roistering to rousing effect, rather like an Irish traditional music session. Invigorating, entertaining music which we enjoyed over supper 'with some wine left'.

Vivid recording made in January 2000 - the session photo shows them all well wrapped up for the Finnish winter! Good liner notes, as usual with this series; all that is missing is some live audience reaction!

Peter Grahame Woolf

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