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Leonardo VINCI (1690/1697-1730)
Erighetta e Don Chilone (1726) [23:33]
Sinfonia per archi [4:34]
Giuseppe PETRINI (fl.1720)
Graziello e Nella [10:59]
Leonardo VINCI (1690/1697-1730)
Adónde fugitivo [6:57]
Triste, ausente, en esta selva [14:15]
Cuando infeliz destino [8:29]
José de NEBRA (1702-1768)
Tempestad grande amigo [2:40]
Roberta Invernizzi (soprano); Cristina Calzolari (alto); Giuseppe De Vittorio (tenor); Giuseppe Naviglio (baritone)
Cappella della Pietà de’Turchini/Antonio Florio
rec. 2001, Santa Caterina da Siena, Naples
NÄIVE OP 30274 [71:35]


This interesting CD celebrates the musical connections between Naples and Madrid. Between 1503 and 1707 the Kingdom of Naples was effectively a province ruled by the Spanish king. In many fields, including music, there was naturally a good deal of cross-fertilisation between Naples and Madrid – hence the title of this CD. The traffic of Neapolitan composers to the Spanish court was very considerable – Domenico Scarlatti, Francesco Corradini, Giovanni Battista Mele and Niccolò Conforto, to name but a few. Even in cases where the composers themselves didn’t travel to Spain, their music very frequently did. As Giulia Anna Romana Veneziano puts it in the booklet notes to this issue:

“The Spanish archives testify to this process of assimilation in their innumerable holdings of works by the most frequently performed Italian composers, among them Niccolò Porpora, Leonard Leo, Niccolò Jommelli, Niccolò Piccinni, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, Leonard Vinci and Domenico and Alessandro Scarlatti: the Neapolitan repertory was exported to Spain through a process of integration with that country’s own repertory”.

There is no evidence that Leonardo Vinci ever visited Spain, but the spine of the present CD is provided by three works preserved in the archives of the Cathedral de la Virgen del Pilar in Saragossa: Adónde fugitivo, Triste, ausente, en esta selva and Cuando infeliz destino. As Veneziano explains “these manuscripts come with a double text, now no longer Italian but Spanish, one ‘divino’ and the other ‘humano’, following a well-established Spanish tradition”.

Adónde fugitivo is a cantata for alto, solo violin and continuo, an angry denunciation of a faithless lover by an abandoned lady, sung here with fitting passion by Cristina Calzolari, though perhaps with a bit more tremolo in the voice than is entirely desirable. Cuando infeliz destino is another cantata for alto, this time with a fuller complement of strings. Both cantatas follow the same pattern of recitative-aria-recitative-aria. Cuando infeliz destino is full of quasi-theatrical effects which remind one of Vinci’s extensive operatic experience. This time a male lover complains of his ill-treatment by a haughty beauty; voice (Calzolari again) and instrumental accompaniment are beautifully dovetailed. Triste, ausente, en esta selva is a version, with Spanish text, of Vinci’s cantata Mesta, oh Dio, for soprano, strings and continuo. Its two arias frame a lengthy recitative and benefit from a very fine performance by Roberta Invernizzi and the Cappella della Pietà de’Turchini. Invernizzi sings the difficult opening aria with intensity and delicacy, her control of pitch and phrase producing very beautiful results; in the recitative she is powerful in her denunciations of (yet another) faithless lover, and in the closing aria her rich decorations of Vinci’s melodic lines are an absolute joy. This cantata would be enough on its own to make this a valuable CD.

Not that it is the only pleasure here. Vinci’s Erighetta e Don Chilone was written as an intermezzo for Vinci’s opera Ernelinda, produced Teatro S. Bartolomeo in Naples, 1726. Erighetta (sung by Invernizzi) is a young widow, Don Chilone (sung by Giuseppe Naviglio) a wealthy hypochondriac. Much of the work is sustained by lengthy recitative, performed with great vivacity by singers and instrumentalists, with enough colour to sustain one’s interest throughout. It is a notable example of its genre. So too is the Graziello e Nella of the little-known Giuseppe Petrini, a piece rediscovered by Antonio Florio, director of Cappella della Pietà de’Turchini. Here the comedy is rather cruder, a fact registered in part by the switch from the standard Italian used in Erighetta e Don Chilone to the Neapolitan dialect of Graziello e Nella. Insults and bawdry are exchanged between the elderly woman Nella (sung by a tenor) and the youthful Graziello (sung by a soprano). The musical cross-dressing (as it were) gives an additional frisson to the exchanges and Roberta Invernizzi and Giuseppe de Vittorio revel in music and text alike. The whole is richly entertaining.

The programme is brought to a close with a piece from the Spanish theatrical repertoire which owed much to Neapolitan models, while investing most of its borrowings with a distinctively Spanish character. This is the duet ‘Tempestad grande amigo’ from José de Nebra’s zarzuela of 1744, Vendado es amor, no es ciego. Invernizzi, Vittorio and Naviglio join forces with the musicians of the Cappella della Pietà de’Turchini (who are excellent throughout the programme) in an effervescent celebration of dance’s power to make one forget the quarrels and conflicts of daily life. It brings a thoroughly enjoyable CD to a particularly joyous conclusion.

Glyn Pursglove




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