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Niccolo FIORENZA (d. 1764)
Concerti Per Flauto (c.1726-1728)
Concerto in A minor for recorder, two violins and continuo
8 Concerto in G minor for recorder, three violins and continuo
Concerto in C minor for recorder, three violins, viola and continuo
Concerto in F minor for recorder, three violins, viola and continuo
Two Trio Sonatas for two violins and continuo*
Trio Sonata in D minor (1726)
Trio Sonata in B minor (c. 1726)
Festa Rustica/Giorgio Matteoli (director, recorder and cello*)
Recorded at the Oratorio della Madonna della Neve, Pontida, Bergamo, Italy.
No recording dates given. DDD.
GAUDEAMUS CD-GAU-331 [65:26)

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Exceedingly little 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 tone.

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.

Michael Cookson

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