Sammartini: Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace

Sammartini: Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace

by Daniele Ferrari
     
 

One has to hand it to musicologist Daniele Ferrari for working so hard on behalf of composer Giovanni Battista Sammartini. Even as the shelves of university libraries sag under the weight of older, unused critical editions of Sammartini's works, Ferrari always makes his own scores from original manuscripts and books his own recording sessions. That Ferrari often has… See more details below

Overview

One has to hand it to musicologist Daniele Ferrari for working so hard on behalf of composer Giovanni Battista Sammartini. Even as the shelves of university libraries sag under the weight of older, unused critical editions of Sammartini's works, Ferrari always makes his own scores from original manuscripts and books his own recording sessions. That Ferrari often has to settle for second-rate musicians to populate his Capriccio Italiano Ensemble is a mere by-product of his mission, to expose as much of Sammartini's unjustly neglected work as possible. In the case of Sammartini's symphonies, Ferrari's previous work has established that Sammartini was more than the mere "scribbler" that the perhaps professionally jealous Franz Josef Haydn made him out to be. However, in Naxos' G.B. Sammartini: Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace, we have before us a sacred cantata, one of only about 20 survivors from among hundreds that Sammartini composed. The title translates to The Tears of the Angels of Peace, and it features three singers who represent The Angel of the Alliance, The Angel of the Testament, and The Angel of Grace, respectively. Annotator Maria Daniela Villa's comments gloss over the static nature of this cantata in the opening to her summary as she commences with "the action begins." Action? "Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace" is about as "stand up and sing" a drama as ere was ever composed, and is burdened with a libretto that is no more than a failed attempt at allegory that, in the end, doesn't make a damn bit of sense. Nonetheless, by the standards of a pietistic seventeenth century audience looking for a bit of light entertainment that would not offend their sensibilities, "Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace" would have been acceptable, even "good" to some degree. In sum, "Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace" is slightly more interesting than one of Albinoni's cantatas, which isn't saying much. The principal singers here fail to do justice to what positive qualities this work has. The soprano is all right, though not stellar, but the mezzo spends much of her time under the music, and in saying so we are not intending to mean that her voice is mixed too quietly. The tenor part has melodic qualities reminiscent of traditional Neapolitan singing, and a Pavarotti or Caruso would have performed it with relish, even though it is rather high lying. Instead, Ferrari has engaged a light lyric tenor to sing this part, with most unhappy results. The things that work on this disc are the instrumental sections -- the opening sinfonia to the cantata, which is great, and the E flat symphony used as filler, also good, but this only accounts for 10 minutes on a disc that runs nearly an hour. Naxos' "Il pianto degli Angeli della Pace" ensures that Sammartini's reputation as a symphonist, for now, is safe.

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Product Details

Release Date:
04/18/2006
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313243228
catalogNumber:
8557432
Rank:
225318

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Tracks

  1. Il pianto degli angeli della pace, cantata for soprano, alto, tenor & orchestra, J-C 119  - Giovanni Battista Sammartini  - Georg Balthasar Probst  - Daniele Ferrari  - Daniele Ferrari  -  Capriccio Italiano Ensemble  - Silvia Mapelli  - Filippo Ravizza  - David S. Tabbat  - Ainhoa Soraluze  - Giorgio Tiboni
  2. Symphony for 2 trumpets, 2 horns, 2 violins, viola & bass in E flat major, J-C 26  - Giovanni Battista Sammartini  - Georg Balthasar Probst  - Daniele Ferrari  - Daniele Ferrari  -  Capriccio Italiano Ensemble

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