Filippo Mineccia, Nereydas, Javier Ulises Illán
Pan Classics PC10352
Niccolò Jommelli (1714-74) is one of those ‘transitional’ figures who so easily fall down the hole between the maturities of Bach/Handel and Haydn/Mozart. Just the kind of composer to benefit from an anniversary, then, and this tercentenary tribute (rec. 2014) does the job nicely. Not all the items are operatic; there are two arias from a 1749 Passion and an extract from a set of Lamentations (1751). And in the middle of the programme is a short four movement sinfonia. Jommelli speaks the lingua franca of his day, but he speaks it very well and with imagination (the opening of O vos omnes is spine-tingling and its continuation scarcely less so) and the performers do him proud. Filippo Mineccia is a modern-school operatic falsettist whose tone can incline towards the billowy at times but he certainly has the technique for the virtuosic passage-work. The Spanish orchestra Nereydas give him whole-hearted support (sometimes at the expense of complete unanimity on sudden high violin notes) though I do wonder if continuo plucked strings, especially guitar, really belong in this repertoire. The booklet (Ger/Eng/Spa) includes a good essay, for once in credible English, and gives the sung texts though with English translations only. However, there is no information about the artists.