Spirito Italiano

Italian Style in German Baroque
Musica Fiorita, Daniela Dolci
Pan Classics PC 10398

Of the five composer represented on this CD, only one never set foot in Italy: Johann Friedrich Fasch petitioned more than one German nobleman for funds and protection to make what most 18th-century composers saw as an absolutely essential part of their training – a study visit to Italy. He is represented on the disc by one of his many orchestral suites, which may (or may not!) have been written for the court orchestra in Dresden, where he did enjoy a study visit in the mid 1720s, and where he undoubtedly did come into contact with Italian music and musicians (as, indeed, he had earlier in his career in Prague). Daniela Dolci coaxes some beautiful playing from her orchestra, and the first bassoonist thoroughly enjoys his moments in the limelight.

Fasch’s friend, Stölzel, did enjoy trips to Venice, where he fine-tuned his gifts for melody and counterpoint, both amply demonstrated by his little concerto for oboe, flute and strings. Johann Melchior Molter is represented by two pieces, a concerto in D for trumpet, and a cantata for the 3rd Day of Xmas. The text is printed in the original German only.

The music for the remainder of the disc changes gear. With Hasse’s Kyrie (a three-movement setting with raucous horns for the opening words of the mass) and Jomelli’s Te Deum, the group move into the gallant period; there is still some counterpoint but the emphasis has shifted to the beauty of the line and the declamation of the text. The small choir is well balanced and projects well.

All in all, this is an enjoyable recital that presents music by composers whose music deserves to be heard more often in performances that underline that fact.

Brian Clark

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