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Cristofaro CARESANA (c.1640-1709)
La Caccia del Toro [14:34]
La Tarantella (1673) [18:19]
La Pastorale (1670) [14:26]
Orazio GIACCIO (c.1590-c.1660)
Pastorale sulla ciaccona (1645) [4:59]
Bernardo STORACE (fl.1664)
Passagagli con partite pastorali (1664) [5:15]
Cristofaro CARESANA (c.1640-1709)
La Vittoria dell’ Infante (1683) [9:07]
Roberta Invernezzi, Roberta Andalò (soprano), Daniela Del Monaco (alto), Giuseppe De Vittorio, Rosario Totaro (tenor), Furio Zanasi (bass), Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini / Antonio Florio
rec. March 1996, Sant’Erasmo Church, Castel Sant’Elmo, Naples
Texts and translations included
NAÏVE OP30449 [66:47]



The rediscovery – on CD at any rate – of the music of Baroque Naples owes much to the work of Antonio Florio and his Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini and this reissue of one of their CDs (formerly OPUS111 OPS 30-184) deserves a warm welcome.
 
Cristofaro Caresana was born in Venice, but well before he reached the age of twenty he was working in Naples, as a tenor, an organist and a composer. He worked with the theatre company of the Feblarmonici and from 1659 was a member of the Congregazione dell’Oratorio; he was both a singer and organist in the royal chapel and from 1668 to 1690 he was maestro di capella of the Conservatorio di S. Onforio. In 1699 he was appointed (in succession to Francesco Provenzale) maestro of the Treasury of San Gennaro. Though he was born in the north of Italy – and he is thought to have studied in Venice with Pietro Andrea Ziani – the music by Caresana heard on this CD is thoroughly Neapolitan. It has all the passion, that perfect fusion of the sacred and the profane, that almost gaudy musical colour, which we have come to think of as characteristic features of Neapolitan baroque.
 
These four pieces by Caresana are quasi-theatrical Nativity cantatas, all fascinating both textually and musically. They find room for some anti-Spanish satire, with the imagery of bull-fighting used to make a point about the unpleasantness of Spanish domination. They find room for touches of comedy and burlesque; they find room, too, for music of exuberant energy and touches of genuine beauty, as well as for passages of very Neapolitan sentiment(ality). Dynamic contrasts, the interplay of soloists and vocal ensemble, all supported by instrumental writing which is wonderfully full of verve – all make for music which may not always be especially profound but which has undeniable impact and which, played and sung as well as it is here has the power to summon up a whole culture before the eyes and ears. ‘La Tarentella’ is a particular joy, setting a sophisticated text which blends elements from literary pastoral, folk-lore, classical myth and the Bible and employing what is said to be one of the earliest appearances of the tarantella melody. The whole is a miniature masterpiece; here, as elsewhere, Caresana shows himself thoroughly responsive to both the larger shape and the verbal detail of the texts he sets.
 
The little Pastorale by Orazio Giaccio is also well worth getting to know. Giaccio, born in aversa, near Naples was a chorister at the Casa dell’Annunziata between 1614 and 1632 and later became a monk. Between 1613 and 1618 he published 3 volumes of secular canzonnetas (Canzonette in aria spagnola e italiana); in 1645 he published a religious ‘answer’ in the form of 3 volumes of Canzone sacra in musica, for one, two or three voices. This ‘Pastorale’, in the form of a chaconne, comes from the 1645 collection and is a vivacious piece for soprano, tenor and continuo.
 
Storace’s ‘Passagagli’ is not altogether well served by the recorded acoustic, but is an apt enough musical presence in this context. It comes from his collection Selva di varie compositioni d’intavolatura per cembalo ed organo, published in Venice in 1645, in which the composer is said to be vicemaestro di cappela to the Senate of Messina.
 
But it is, above all, for the cantatas by Caresana that this reissue should be of interest to all lovers of the Italian baroque. The soprano voices of Roberta Invernizzi (characteristically excellent) and Roberta Andalò and the powerful, yet subtle, bass of Furio Zanasi stand out, but none of the vocal soloists are in any way weak or unsatisfactory, and the instrumental ensemble is a consistent delight, the whole superbly managed by Florio.
 
Glyn Pursglove

 



 


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