Nel Giardino di Partenope: Neapolitan cello sonatas

Gaetano Nasillo violoncello, Sara Bennici violoncello, Michele Barchi harpsichord
Arcana A 385
Music by Alborea, Greco, Lanzetti, Pergolesi, Pericoli, Porpora, Ruvo, Supriani + CD of Neapolitan cello concertos with Ensemble 415, Chiara Banchini

Isuspect only Porpora and Pergolesi will be known to the majority of readers, and such names as Rocco Greco, Francesco Alborea detto Francischiello, Giulio di Ruvo, Francesco Supriani, Salvatori Lanzetti and Pasquale Pericoli will be names, hopefully to whet the listener’s appetite.

The disc covers the 70-year period 1699 to 1769, and the items are presented as far as possible in chronological order and are chosen show the development of the sonata in Naples at the time. The earliest are dance based, and one, by Supriani, is labelled ‘Toccate’. Lanzetti’s sonatas are interesting pieces which use passages in harmonics at some points – there are two examples on the disc – with some virtuoso writing, as is the Nicola Porpora sonata. Nearly all the movements are with harpsichord and a cello bass line, whereas some movements or works might have been more suited to one or the other, but otherwise this is an interesting disc for cellists. The booklet usefully gives the sources of the sonatas. A 70-minute bonus disc of five cello concertos by Fiorenza, Porpora, Leo and Sabatino with Nasillo and Ensemble 415 is included, which I found in general more interesting than the sonatas. This makes it a worthwhile purchase for those interested in exploring less well-known repertoire for the instrument.

Ian Graham-Jones