52,943 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  


Crotchet   AmazonUK   AmazonUS

Giovanni Battista SAMMARTINI (1700/01-1775)
Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace, Cantata sacra per soli, orchestra e basso continuo J-C 119 (1751)
Symphony in E flat major J-C 26
Silvia Mapelli (soprano)
Ainhoa Soraluze (mezzo)
Giorgio Tiboni (tenor)
Filippo Ravizza (harpsichord)
Capriccio Italiano Ensemble/Daniele Ferrari
Recorded in Monza, Milan, March 2002
NAXOS 8.557432 [54.09]


In Haydnís view Sammartini was "a scribbler" but he was clearly an eminent enough one to attract Gluck as a pupil. He was probably born in Milan and remains better known for his orchestral music, some of which certainly impressed Gluck who recycled some in his own sinfonias. Both as maestro di cappella and organist he was held in the highest esteem. Itís welcome therefore that examples of his devotional music are now appearing on disc with greater frequency.

High amongst those works is Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace, a cantata not based on the Gospel but rather a dialogue on salvation and its fulfilment through Christ. To this end there are three soloists, a long orchestral introduction, extensive recitative, soaring arias and a choral melody that returns three times, giving the piece a rondo-like form Ė a sort of leitmotif, as the notes rightly say, that attempts to link the work in a huge chain of significance.

The acoustic is good, the band quite small and with some fine solo voices there Ė good oboist for instance, the winding, introductory tune of which announces immediately the contemplative depth of much of the Cantata. The cello soloist fares well in Rasserenata il ciglio (reminding one of those cello solo parts Handel wrote in his own choral works). The arias are sometimes devout and sometimes quasi-operatic with an invitation to the soloist for florid extensions at the top. Sammartini occupies a broadly centre-Baroque stylistic position. He tended to be more classical in his orchestral works but there are certainly some indications of directions to be taken, and the Rondo/leitmotif devices are effective and cumulatively impressive.

The solo singing is on a rather less exalted level. Soprano Silvia Mapelli is clearly the best of the trio. Sometimes thereís quite a lot of air around the voice, which is a recording characteristic and once or twice when she opens up the tone can get a tiny bit squally at the top. But though this is a youthful voice there is an odd technical problem inasmuch as her lower voice is often employed parlando and her upper register is declamatory and operatic. Mezzo Ainhoa Soraluze can be unsteady and her pitch is occasionally uncertain. I canít say I enjoyed her contribution. Giorgio Tiboniís voice is far better suited to Neapolitan song than Sammartini. This isnít a put-down because it would be attractive in the Gigli repertoire or in verismo but itís completely incongruous here.

We end with an example of Sammartiniís purely orchestral writing, a three movement Symphony lasting less than nine minutes. Thereís nothing really distinctive about it other than a pomposo element to the finale. Given the opportunity Iíd probably join with Haydnís assessment here. But there are attractive things in the cantata even if the vocal performances could have been considerably improved.

Jonathan Woolf

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger

Return to Index

Untitled Document

Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.