Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Lively music from the Court of Emperor Joseph I

Part of the fun of Anna Beer's book Songs and Sweet Airs: the Forgotten Women of Classical Music comes after you're done: discovering the music of Beer's eight women composers (from Francesca Caccini to Elizabeth Maconchy), and then filling in the gaps with the music of composers like Grazyna Bacewicz and Chiquinha Gonzaga and Sofia Gubaidulina.

Here's a really interesting composer from early 18th century Vienna, someone who's one step away from being completely anonymous: Camilla de Rossi. We have no birth or death dates for de Rossi, but know that she was originally from Rome, and that she worked in Vienna in the early 18th century. There are five extant works for voices and orchestra, lively works with interesting vocal and instrumental parts (including the early use of the chalumeau, the predecessor of the clarinet). The music has an excellent and most amiable model: Arcangelo Corelli, and one can see why these works found favour at the Court of the Austrian Emperor.

This CD, due for release on June 24, 2016, is a nicely packaged re-issue of the Pan Classics disc originally released in 2002. Daniela Dolci conducts the excellent singers and instrumentalists of her Basel-based Musica Fiorita; the recording was made in April 2001 in the Reformierte Kirche Meiringen. I was interested to see that Johannes Strobl also plays harpsichord and organ in the ensemble; he is now the very successful director of the Cappella Murensis and Les Cornets Noirs.

I found the original Pan recording up on YouTube. I think you'll agree this is very listenable music.

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