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Galuppi: Complete Harpsichord Concertos / Loreggian, Ensemble Conserto Musico

Release Date: 11/15/2011 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94161  
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Much more than a minor master – music brimming with invention, dancy rhythms and cantabile melody.

Italian composer Baldassare Galuppi is rightly famed for his huge contribution to opera buffa. He was also a prolific and popular composer of keyboard music, particularly sonatas. Two volumes of these recently appeared on Naxos. This double CD from Brilliant is even more of a bargain. It brings together the six Harpsichord Concertos of the Paris National Library manuscripts and a second in F held at Dresden, with two Flute Concertos by Galuppi and a keyboard Concerto in D previously ascribed to him but long since known to be by Joseph Haydn.

Galuppi was much more than a minor master - that much is evident
Read more from the very first bars of the Concerto in C, with imagination overpowering precedent. Galuppi was a keyboard virtuoso of some stature, and his Concertos are brimming with invention, dancy rhythms and cantabile melody. The allegro outer movements are always thrilling, the middle andante or largo thoughtful to the point of poetic. To quote the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni, with whom he often collaborated: "What music! What style! What masterworks!"

Galuppi is slightly more easy-going or Telemann-like in the Flute Concertos, the second of which has had its harpsichord part impressively reconstructed by flautist Mario Folena. Haydn's Concerto in D is so obviously in a different style it seems the early misattribution can only have been a slip of the pen. Nevertheless, Loreggian and the Ensemble ConSerto Musico give a fine account of that too - perhaps one day they will record the other ten or so by Haydn. Loreggian is already a veteran of numerous fine recordings, both as a harpsichordist and as an organist - see reviews of Pasquini's keyboard pieces on Chandos for an example of the former, and Brilliant's Frescobaldi edition for the latter. He is, without doubt, a great harpsichordist; if there is one criticism that might be levelled against him, it is that he takes a hairy-chested approach, even to Galuppi's gentler, more reflective slow movements.

Four of Galuppi's Concertos first appeared on LP on Erato in the 1970s, recorded by I Solisti Veneti under Claudio Scimone, since when there has been only one other recording of the complete set, by Rita Peiretti with the Accademia dei Solinghi on Dynamic. Given that it is what retailers euphemistically call an 'import', it is on sale on Amazon at around seven times the price of the present set! Fortunately, Peiretti is also available direct from Dynamic, where it is half Amazon's price - though still dear by comparison with Brilliant, and with less material.

In this recording Loreggian and the four quality strings and flute of the Ensemble ConSerto Musico use attractive original or reproduction period instruments, including the unusual gamba-family violotto as basso. Sound quality is very good, the acoustic intimate yet spacious, and balance is ideal, with the harpsichord central across both channels, higher strings to one side, low to the other. In the English-Italian booklet there are general biographical notes on Galuppi by Franco Rossi, and then a couple of more interesting paragraphs by Loreggian on the Concerti themselves. The detail is brief in both cases, but the notes are well written and well translated.

-- Byzantion, MusicWeb International
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