Giovanni Battista Sammartini: Sacred Cantatas

Giovanni Battista Sammartini: Sacred Cantatas

by Daniele Ferrari
     
 

It's hard to take the pleasing, sprightly music of Giovanni Battista Sammartini and make an unsatisfying recording of it; Sammartini arguably influenced Mozart more than any other composer (J.C. Bach contends for that crown), and the arias on this disc of Sammartini's rarely heard sacred music have the virtues of muchSee more details below

Overview

It's hard to take the pleasing, sprightly music of Giovanni Battista Sammartini and make an unsatisfying recording of it; Sammartini arguably influenced Mozart more than any other composer (J.C. Bach contends for that crown), and the arias on this disc of Sammartini's rarely heard sacred music have the virtues of much of Mozart's vocal music. They are exciting yet natural, beautifully integrated with the text and lying favorably in the grain of the voice. Nevertheless, this is an odd release in the extreme, and it will probably appeal to Sammartini enthusiasts more than to general listeners. Sammartini wrote a good deal of church music, but these two "sacred cantatas" for soloists, orchestra, and continuo were written not for liturgical use but for a lay group that met in a Milanese Jesuit church. The texts are in Italian, not Latin, and they emphasize rather out-of-the-way aspects of Christ's passion. It is not known who wrote the texts, but they have the quality of accordance with in-group conventions. The casual listener will notice first off that in the first cantata, "Della Passione di Gesù Cristo," the arias of saints Peter and John are sung by women, while that of Mary Magdalene is given to a male tenor. The text of the second cantata centers on the "three Marys" who visit Jesus' tomb, offering raw material for a beautifully rendered final trio; the soprano, alto, and tenor solo group is the same. One major irritant for many listeners will be the blatant anti-Semitism of the text of the first cantata; the notes make appropriate pronouncements as to the unfortunateness of this situation but do not explain why a different Lenten cantata of what is apparently a rather large group was not picked instead. Another will be the sound of conductor Daniele Ferrari's Symphonica Ensemble, which is neither silky nor smooth. The three wildly divergent soloists (soprano Silvia Mapelli's voice is slight and rather metallic, while mezzo soprano Miroslava Yordanova is big and imposing, while tenor Giorgio Tiboni tends toward an operatic voice of modest dimensions) somehow accentuate the local, in-group character of the music, and the disc as a whole, representing an entirely forgotten corner of the Classical-era repertory, somehow comes to more than the sum of its parts even if there are big caveats to keep in mind here.

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Product Details

Release Date:
11/21/2006
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313025473
catalogNumber:
8570254
Rank:
225464

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Della passione de Gesù Cristo, cantata for soprano, alto, tenor & orchestra, J-C 124  - Giovanni Battista Sammartini  - Daniele Ferrari  - Daniele Ferrari  - Silvia Mapelli  - Filippo Ravizza  - Giorgio Tiboni  -  Symphonica Ensemble  - Miroslava Yordanova
  2. L'addolorata divina madre, cantata for soprano, alto, tenor & orchestra, J-C 123  - Giovanni Battista Sammartini  - Daniele Ferrari  - Daniele Ferrari  - Silvia Mapelli  - Filippo Ravizza  - Giorgio Tiboni  -  Symphonica Ensemble  - Massimo Tannoia

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