Salterio italiano

Romina Basso mezzo soprano, Il Dolce Conforto directed by Franziska Fleischanderl
Christophorus CHR 77426
Martini, Perotti, Girolamo Rossi, Ubaldi & Ugolino

But for a cpo CD by Salzburger Hofmusik with 18th-century music chiefly by Telemann featuring Salterio, which I actually bought for the contribution from chalumeaux and Baroque clarinet, I would have been as unaware as I guess most people are of the 18th-century vogue for the instrument. This programme includes delightful instrumental music by Fulgenzio Perotti, Florido Ubaldi and Vito Ugolino featuring the instrument as well as two works for solo alto by Giovanni Battista Martini and Girolamo Rossi which feature salterio in the accompanying ensemble. In Martini’s fine Motetto, due to the prominence of the solo voice, the salterio is initially just part of the accompanying texture, although presently in a couple of items it steps out of the shadows to take a more prominently solistic role alongside the vocalist. In Rossi’s Lezione Quarta, by contrast, the salterio plays a much more fundamental role. The hand-plucked strings of the salterio have a delightful tinkling quality, which allows it to contrast with the harpsichord when the two are playing together, and imbues music it participates in with an elegant and charming timbre. Although I have little to compare it with, Franziska Fleischanderl’s playing is beautifully effective and effortlessly elegant, while Romina Basso’s solo singing and the playing of the ensemble Il Dolce Conforto are both models of musicality and expressiveness. This whole unsuspected repertoire definitely deserves more general attention, and the musicians here have done us a great service in bringing it to a wider.

D. James Ross

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