Scarlatti's music forms an important link between the early Baroque Italian vocal styles of the 17th century, with their centers in Florence, Venice and Rome, and the classical school of the 18th century, which culminated in Mozart.
With this recording, the Purcell Quartet reach the mid-point in their six-part series of chamber music based on La Jolla, and although this CD is devoted to Geminiani, the only work on that tune is, in fact, his concerto grosso arrangement of Corelli's variations for violin (Op. 5 No. 12). In addition, they have chosen the G minor Concerto grosso (distinguished by Geminiani's remarkable concertino viola part, played to good effect by Alan George), two of Geminiani's original solo sonatas (giving Catherine Mackintosh and Elizabeth Wallfisch moments in which to shine) and trio arrangements of two of his violin sonatas.
Alessandro Scarlatti wrote over 600 cantatas, two of which are on this 1987 disc performed by soprano Lynne Dawson and the Purcell Quartet: Correa nel seno amato and Già lusingato appieno. He wrote considerably less keyboard music – and next to nothing compared with the gargantuan achievement of his son Domenico – one of which is on this disc performed by Robert Woolley, the harpsichordist of the Purcell Quartet: the Variations on La Folia. With the chamber cantatas flanking the keyboard variations, this disc is a wonderful program of the elder Scarlatti's art. Though there are some who might argue English soprano Dawson is perhaps too reserved for this repertoire, none would argue that she doesn't have a clear voice and a supple technique. And while there are others who might argue the Purcell Quartet is perhaps too stringent for the repertoire, none would argue they don't play together with consummate ease and they don't accompany Dawson with brilliant mastery. But there are few who would disparage Woolley's blindingly virtuosic and blazingly demonic La Folia Variations.
The music for harpsichord has been considered an inexplicable chance occurrence in Alessandro Scarlatti's output, and in assessing it, we should avoid unfair and unappropriate comparisons with the work of his exceptionally gifted son. Alessandro's cultural background was quite different and very precise in the way it affected keyboard music: Frescobaldi was the first in a series of figures who are known to a greater or lesser extent today and whose teaching came down to Scarlatti in a solid stylistic tradition. Pasquini, his extremely diligent and prolific contemporary, the last of the line, was strongly motivated by his patron, the Prince Borghese in writing harpsichord music. Alessandro also wished to try his hand in this area. 250th Anniversary Release. On the occasion of the 350th anniversary of Alessandro Scarlatti's birth (Palermo, 2 May 1660), Arcana is re-releasing this anthology of toccatas and fugues by the elder Scarlatti, father of the better-known Domenico.
In terms of their reputations, it is the misfortune of both Albinoni and Telemann that they shared their time and space with Vivaldi and Bach - respectively, the nonpareils of Venetian Baroque and Baroque everywhere else. Nonetheless, these oboe concerti of Albinoni testify to the considerable talents of the Red Priest's contemporaries. Three of the four concerti that begin CD1 (those in d, C and g) are probably the equals of anything that Vivaldi wrote for this instrument. They show the 51 year old composer (former dilettante now turned professional) at the height of his powers. Telemann's works on these discs, meanwhile - and especially the wonderful Sonata in g from 'Tafelmusik III' - show him at his most inspired…By Jon Chambers (Birmingham, England)
Per la musicologia italiana Il martirio di Sant'Orsola di Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) – il grande padre del grandissimo Domenico – questo Oratorio è degno di due soli dati, relativi alla (prima) esecuzione: il luogo, Lione, e l'incerta data, 1695-1700. È poco, ma è quello che passa il convento. Le ragioni di questa bella registrazione consistono nella presenza del manoscritto della partitura nella Biblioteca municipale di Lione, che conserva l'Oratorio con il congenere Davidis pugna et victoria di poco posteriore.Lasciata la natia Palermo da ragazzo…
Scarlatti's cantatas are veritable miniature operas in which his writing for the voice highlights the expressive powers of the various affects of love: love the pleasure-seeker, love the tyrant, love the traitor and love the combatant. Voice and instruments unite in an inventive spirit of virtuoso rivalry, laying bare the passions of the soul.
"…This is the only complete recording that I know of this work. It was recorded in 1992 for Symphonia, and probably did not have a great deal of circulation on that less well-known label. (…) If you don’t have the original release in your collection, this is definitely the one you should get. It is an outstanding recording that has certainly stood the test of time." ~Fanfare