A painted tale

The young American tenor Nicholas Phan has rightly attracted praise for his performances of Britten, with whose music he identifies. It is very noticeable that he has welcomed on board many elements of Pears’ style, notably the latter’s use (particularly in his later years) of acciaccatura – launching up to a higher note from the lower one, like a mini trampoline in front of a vaulting horse.

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I musicisti dell’imperatore

The title of this recording is something of a marketing ploy – yes, Piani was one of the most highly paid musicians in Vienna but the violin sonatas on the disc were published in Paris before he was employed by the Habsburgs; Alessandro Scarlatti and Vivaldi’s connection was as composer to a particular residence, but how many times did they actually encounter the emperor?

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