El Maestro Farinelli

El Maestro Farinelli

by Pablo Heras-Casado


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El Maestro Farinelli

The casual browser might assume from the large word Farinelli and the picture of a bearded hipster dude in the graphics that this is another album devoted to arias connected with Italian castrato Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli. But look more closely: the title, "El Maestro," is in Spanish. The album deals with Farinelli's tenure in Madrid, where he held the title of chamber musician to King Philip V and was a sort of impresario. His performing career was over by this time, and the album is mostly instrumental (a couple of countertenor arias, one of them the Farinelli hit "Alto giove," are included), consisting of music by composers with whom Farinelli was associated, and might have programmed in Spain. This may seem a slender concept on which to hang the relaunch of the venerable Archiv early music imprint, and about all you can say in its favor is that the music is a great deal of fun. The program mixes opera overtures of the middle 18th century with some engaging dances by Spanish composer José de Nebra, the aforementioned arias, and independent symphonies by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Johann Adolf Hasse. The music is all almost unknown, and it is for the most part zippy and extremely attractive. Start in with the very first track, the overture to "La festa cinese" (The Chinese Festival) of Nicola Conforto, with its unique rhythmic drive, and then sample the overtures by Jommelli and Traetta, opera seria composers who are almost forgotten today but whom any fan of the time would have known. The Concerto Köln, with a solid group of 28 players, gives this novel music a good deal of rhythmic zest, and it's hard not to conclude that even if the concept is strange, if that's what it took to get the music rediscovered, the effort was worth it. Archiv's studio sound is masterful.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/27/2014
Label: Deutsche Grammophon
UPC: 0028947920502
catalogNumber: 002037102
Rank: 103730


  1. Periodical Overture, for orchestra
  2. Viento es la diche de amore, zarzuela: Canción
  3. Para obsequio a la deydad, nunca es culto la crueldad, y Iphigenia en Tracia, zarzuela: Seguidilla
  4. Amar y ser amado y la divina Philotea, zarzuela: Seguidilla
  5. La dicha en la desgracia y vida campestre, zarzuela: Overture
  6. Baile de máscaras, zarzuela: [Excerpts]
  7. Carlo il calvo, opera: Overture

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