A well-established Baroque music ensemble is joining Glossa, with Antonio Florio and the Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini making an agreement to record one or two discs per annum here. Founded in 1987, the baroque orchestra and its vocal soloists connected with the Centro di Musica Antica Pietà de’ Turchini in Naples have become internationally- celebrated for their exploration of Neapolitan music from the 17th and 18th centuries. Florio – aided by eminent scholars such as Dinko Fabris – has successfully breathed new life into a forgotten repertory, with a string of recordings and concerts as testament to the vitality of the musical scene in Naples in these times, especially through its operatic and sacred music.
Already recorded for Glossa by Manuel Mohino at the Turchini’s regular recording “home”, the church of Santa Caterina de Siena in Naples, is L’adorazione dei magi, a Christmastime album containing four vocal works by Cristoforo Caresana. It was a good opportunity to have a brief conversation with director Antonio Florio about his continuing fascination with the music of his city. Did he imagine – when he first started to research, perform and record Neapolitan Baroque music – that he would turn up so many treasures, such as music by Caresana? “Not really, but the great merit of this musician did strike me right away, and therefore the place that he occupied with Francesco Provenzale as the two greatest musical figures of Naples from the second half of the 1600s.”
Over the years Florio and the Cappella della Pietà de’ Turchini have, of course, been making a fine array of recordings of Neapolitan music by Caresana and Provenzale (notably for Symphonia, Opus 111 and Eloquentia), but has Antonio Florio’s attitude and approach to the music of Cristoforo Caresana changed? “Across that time I believe that I have gained, naturally, a greater awareness of his style of composition, but also, I think, a more-informed comprehension of his handwriting, which is important because all of the works by Caresana have come down to us in the form of autograph manuscripts – something which is extremely rare for those times – and of the fluidity of his methods of setting down his thoughts onto manuscript. We were very pleased, however, when our first disc devoted to Caresana, back in 1996, earned numerous awards, including the Choc de l’Année from Le Monde de la Musique.”
As well as the six-part piece which provides the new Glossa disc’s title, Florio says that a solo cantata called Partenope has also been included, “which was dedicated to, and intended for performance in 1703 in the chapel of San Gennaro in the Duomo (of which Caresana, following on from Provenzale, was for a long time the maestro): in a city as singularly remarkable as was Naples during the Spanish Vice-Regency, it needn’t be surprising to find Ancient Greek and Roman myths used for celebrations for the patron saint of the city – Partenope being the early Greek name for Naples – or to find a demon clothing himself as Pluto in a cantata designed for Christmas.” The vocal soloists on the new recording are set to include the stylish and experienced talents of Maria Grazia Schiavo, Giuseppe De Vittorio and Rosario Totaro. What is the general direction that Florio is proposing for his recording collaboration with Glossa? “Our artistic project will continue to focus on Neapolitan 17th and 18th century music, above all on unknown and unpublished works, such as the sacred music of Gaetano Veneziano, who was another important composer from 18th century Naples whose music has come to light only over recently.” Glossa’s Artistic Director, Carlos Céster commented, “We are very excited in welcoming Antonio Florio and his musicians to the family of artists already at the label. I have long admired the theatricality and sheer exuberance of their Neapolitan music-making; such artistic vitality deserves the widest form of availability.”
by Mark Wiggins © 2010 MusiContact / Glossa Music