In his lifetime, Baldassare Galuppi was a well-known
and popular composer across Europe. He wrote a hundred and ten operas
for performance in the London theatre and at the court of Catherine II in
Saint Petersburg, as well as in Florence and Venice in his native Italy.
He was also a noted harpsichordist and kapellmeister.
These two CDs are the first complete recording of his harpsichord concertos.
They are entrancing music with bright punchy foot-tapping rhythms in the
outer movements and broad sustained cantabile playing in the central slow
movements, in which the stately pulse is marked with pizzicato from the single
cello and double bass. Above all, these concertos are bravura pieces for
harpsichord virtuoso, executed with faultless brilliance by Rita Peiretti.
Most of the concerto movements begin with a full orchestral exposition, sometimes
fully 60 seconds long, which can give the listener the impression of being
perfectly pleasant, but in no way great, music. The entry of the soloist
transforms all that; her playing grabs the undivided attention of the listener,
who becomes enthralled by the bravura display at the harpsichord keyboard.
The penultimate section of many movements is given over to a solo harpsichord
cadenza whose brilliance rivals that of the first movement of Bach's 5th
The dates of composition are uncertain, but are clearly mid-18th Century,
belonging squarely as they do to the transition period from Baroque to Classical.
It is possible to detect stylistic developmen between the concertos: almost
certainly their sequence on the discs is not chronological. One can surmise
that the latest and most mature works are also those which are the longest:
the opening Concerto in D major and the concluding one in F major.
This recording is a must for connoisseurs of 18th Century Italy, and can
be heartily recommended for all who love the rhythms and meodied of that
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