Mandolino e Violino in Italia

Anna Torge mandolin, Mayumi Hirasaki violin, Il cantino
cpo 555 050-2
Music by Arrigoni, Capponi, Hasse & Vivaldi

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his delightful collection of concertos, sonatas and trios by Vivaldi and his contemporaries Carlo Arrigoni, Abbate Ranieri Capponi and Johann Adolf Hasse features the mandolin skills of Anna Torge. With superb musicianship, her simple little instrument brings this music wonderfully to life, ably supported by violinist Mayumi Hirasaki and the small instrumental ensemble, Il cantino. The most famous Vivaldi mandolin concerto is in C major, but the present performers offer a delightful B-flat major concerto as well as a delicate trio in G minor and a sunny C major trio. It is fascinating to hear the equivalent compositions by Vivaldi’s largely unknown contemporaries, which include an atmospheric trio by Arrigoni and a charming sonata for mandolin, cello and lute by Capponi. Johann Adolf Hasse’s concerto, which concludes the CD, introduces a further level of sophistication, with a wider expressive range than the Vivaldi concerti. There is a painting of Hasse’s wife, the singer Faustina Bordoni, one of Handel’s star sopranos in London, playing the mandolin, and Hasse may well have composed his handful of mandolin works for her to play. In any event, it seems likely that her expertise allowed her husband to compose with authority for the instrument. These performances bring out the subtle side of this lovely mandolin and violin repertoire, avoiding the brash approach often heard in other recordings of Vivaldi. A warning for those who buy their CDs based on the cover picture – notwithstanding the prominent appearance of a recorder, no recorders feature on this CD!

D. James Ross

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