This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.
Notes and Editorial Reviews
Pickett has assembled about 40 players—strings, flutes, cornetts, sackbuts, shawms, even bagpipes—and reveled in the resultant array of sounds with an infectious enjoyment worthy of David Munrow.
They certainly knew how to put on a show back in the seventeenth century. Delizie di Posillipo boscarecce e marittime may not be deep, but this entertainment mounted in Naples in 1620 to mark that auspicious occasion, the return to health of His Catholic Majesty Philip III of Austria, must have been quite a spectacle. Although its main object seems to have been to offer up praise to the local viceroy, the organizers managed somehow to fill the stage—representative of the Arcadian surroundings of Posilipo, just outside
Naples—with assorted nymphs, shepherds, satyrs, swans, apes, allegorical figures, minor deities and the like. A number of composers contributed to this actually relatively minor celebration (foremost among them Giovanni Maria Trabaci and Francesco Lambardi) and all the vocal numbers have survived together with a few dances. Philip Pickett has convincingly filled the gaps with further dances drawn from a contemporary Neapolitan manuscript, and the result—as with Andrew Parrott's Florentine Intermedii recording for EMI of a few years ago—is a tantalizing glimpse of how well-off court establishments entertained themselves in a bygone age.
Theatrical, however, it isn't. The music is atmospheric rather than dramatic, and without the spectacle of the original event this disc can never sound like much more than a sequence of attractive dances and relatively undistinguished vocal music. The latter is well sung by a small group of soloists, of whom Patrizia Kwella as Venus and Catherine Bott as a typically earthy Cupid make the biggest impression. For the dances, however, Pickett has assembled about 40 players—strings, flutes, cornetts, sackbuts, shawms, even bagpipes—and revelled in the resultant array of sounds with an infectious enjoyment worthy of David Munrow. Not that there is any lack of restraint; Pickett certainly doesn't see the recording as an excuse just to make a lot of noise, and the temptation some conductors may have felt to go over the top in this sort of music is clearly not encountered here. But in the end, this disc is more than anything a fine demonstration of the excellence and vitality of contemporary British period instrumental playing; I would defy anyone listening to it to keep their feet still.
-- Gramophone [4/1992]
Works on This Recording
Sylvan and Oceanic Delights of Posilipo by Traditional
Patrizia Kwella (Soprano),
Catherine Bott (Soprano),
Andrew King (Tenor),
John Mark Ainsley (Tenor)
New London Consort
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