is known about the late-Baroque Neapolitan
composer, teacher and orchestral violinist
Niccolo Fiorenza. Apparently Fiorenza
left a small output of nine symphonies
and fifteen concertos and access to
his manuscripts has been badly restricted
owing to protracted restoration work
at the Library of the Naples Conservatoire
where they are housed. It is acknowledged
that Fiorenza played a significant part
in the development of instrumental music
in Southern Italy in the first half
of the eighteenth century.
Ensemble director and
founder Giorgio Matteoli who also plays
the cello and recorder on the recording
states in his booklet notes that Fiorenza
has imported, "new harmonic and
compositional elements into the Scarlattian
tradition of the Neapolitan school."
Matteoli writes about the exquisite
slow movements which he feels reminds
him of Venetian composers such as Alessandro
Marcello and Albinoni rather than the
Neapolitans. Many listeners will hear
in Fiorenza’s concise and agreeably
melodic music a definite influence of
his contemporary the great Venetian
master Antonio Vivaldi, which is especially
noticeable in the quicker movements.
This Gaudeamus release
contains two trio sonatas and four concertos
for recorder, strings and continuo.
In the flute concertos known as concerti
per flauto the evidence suggests
that it is probable that Fiorenza was
writing for the flauto dolce (or
concertante flute) which is a
direct descendant of the recorder used
in this recording, rather than
the transverse flute.
The ensemble Festa
Rustica was founded in 1992 and specialise
in the performance of instrumental repertoire
from the late-Renaissance through to
the Classical period. Festa Rustica
use original instruments or accurate
copies and are most attentive to period
performance practice. The fascinating
quest for authenticity certainly pays
off as the period instruments are played
with a fluency and proficiency with
clarity, richness and rounded sound.
The performance of Festa Rustica under
the telling direction of Giorgio Matteoli
is never showy or self indulgent; just
penetrating and highly accomplished.
It is difficult not to single out Matteoli’s
solo recorder playing which is out of
the top-drawer, displaying a quite luxuriant
Gaudeamus are to be
congratulated in releasing this lyrical,
appealing, often very beautiful and
extremely rare music. The musicianship
of Festa Rustica is sensational throughout
as is the recorded sound quality.