Notes and Editorial Reviews
G. B. VITALI
10 Sonatas à 6,
Sinfonia à 6 in d. Toccata. Grave à 6.
Luigi Cozzolino, cond; Semperconsort
BRILLIANT 93976 (60:00)
Giovanni Battista Vitali (1632–92) is one of the lesser lights of music in 17th-century Italy. A violone player by training, he spent virtually his entire life in Bologna and Modena, where he held some secondary positions in churches and enjoyed
patronage from the ducal Este family. His son, Tommaso Antonio Vitali (1663–1745), became a noted violinist and composer of instrumental music at the court in Modena. Aside from two oratorios, all of the music of Vitali
consists of instrumental pieces, the majority being collections of dance music, including the works presented here. Most of these would appear to be premiere recordings; aside from individual works featured in Italian Baroque anthology albums, previous CDs devoted to Vitali have drawn primarily on his op. 5 (with the Quadro Hypothesis on Tactus) and op. 7 (featuring the Accademia Farnese on Mondo Musica). While there is nothing very intellectually demanding or novel here, it is all very delightful; one cannot help but be struck by the considerable similarity of the music in tracks 3 (a capriccio for violin) and 20 (a chaconne for violin) to the famous Pachelbel Canon. The Semperconsort, a seven-member period-instrument ensemble consisting of two violins, two violas, a violone, a lute (alternating with theorbo), and keyboard (spinet and organ), plays everything deftly and with panache. A forward recording and resonant acoustic give the musicians a richly amplified sound. In short, while by no means essential repertoire, this CD is thoroughly enjoyable and heartily recommended to all lovers of Baroque consort and dance music.
FANFARE: James A. Altena
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