Where the typical ECM continental European chamber sound has been associated with Norwegian pianist Christian Wallumrod, Fabula Suite Lugano adds a new, expansive flavor to what might be expected. This rather ambitious program features a core ensemble, but the sounds are bigger or smaller depending on the inspiration or thematic concept. At the center of many tracks is the violin and viola of Gjermund Larsen and cellist Tanja Orning, but the Baroque harp, as played by Giovanna Pessi, adds more bright colors, while the lone horn (trumpet) of Eivind Lonnig completes the cycle of mystery to this spatial, in-the-main haunting music.
Nicola Porpora, a contemporary of Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, and Haydn (and a very young Mozart) is best remembered today as a famous singing teacher and opera composer. During his long career (he lived to age 81) he suffered many employment-related difficulties and disappointments that caused him to move frequently. Naples (where he was born), Venice, Dresden, and Vienna (where he taught Haydn) all enjoyed Porpora's reputable presence, and he even spent a period in London at the behest of a group seeking to unseat Handel and his opera company from its preeminent position. In addition to his operas and vocal music, Porpora wrote instrumental works such as the six violin sonatas featured here, which are drawn from a set of 12. Although anyone familiar with Italian Baroque and early Classical-style solo violin music will discover nothing particularly original on this generally fine recording, if you enjoy that genre and period you'll find much here to indulge and satisfy your taste.