deserves at least a modicum of recognition
for being a composer with fine melodic
gifts and an ear for musical structure
in a generation that preceded the great
Viennese composers of the classical
era. He left behind eight keyboard concertos,
but was more widely recognized in his
day as a composer of operas, an art
in which he met great success during
his lifetime, and has still enjoyed
some favor amongst the ranks of the
musical revivalist crowd in this present
This disc of charming
and elegant works gives evidence that
the Neapolitan composer indeed is worthy
of at least an occasional hearing in
the modern era, and we can be grateful
to Naxos for being ever so diligent
in their adventuresome selection of
repertoire. God help us if Klaus Heyman
every runs out of interesting music
The works will remind
seasoned listeners of similar creations
by Haydn and a very young Mozart. Tuneful
and graceful, this music is as non-threatening
as it comes. Francesco Nicolosi plays
his modern grand piano with aplomb,
the passagework is clean and he can
produce a lovely cantabile in the slower
movements. The Collegium Philarmonicum
is a taut little band with excellent
ensemble and intonation. In short, this
is a lovely recording of some very pleasant,
if not utterly consequential music,
and worth a place on your record shelf.
Paulo Isotta has written
a set of program notes that are well,
nauseous. He makes totally pretentious
and condescending remarks like: "It
would be foolish to ask today whether
these pieces should be played on the
harpsichord, the hybrid fortepiano or
the modern pianoforte" then proceeds
to berate period keyboard instruments
in a most unattractive way. Really?
It seems to me that with the light orchestration
and the refined nature of the music
itself, that the lighter instruments
would be quite pleasant indeed.
Then we get "…Francesco
Nicolosa, who has acquired a reputation
as one of our greatest living pianists."
Nicola who? Funny this
is the first time in twenty years in
the music business that I have ever
heard of him. That is not to say that
he isn’t a fine musician, he is, but
please, the notes sound as though his
manager wrote them. A scholarly essay
is not the place for such pronouncements.
In short, the entire
essay is hyperbolic, giving composer
and performers both far more glory than
they have either earned or deserve.
For some reason, for all the things
that Naxos does well, they are least
consistent in the department of documentation.
For one of the leading labels in the
world, this is a problem that should
be addressed and soon.
Naxos have adopted
a new disc and packaging design which
I for one find appealing.