The Neapolitan Baroque, especially in the first half of the eighteenth century, was a vibrant and vital time for instrumental music, as Josetxu Obregón and La Ritirata now demonstrate with their new recording of six concertos from that era. The Neapolitan school – which owed so much in its formation to Francesco Provenzale – flourished in the hands of Francesco Mancini, Nicola Porpora, Nicola Fiorenza, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and Alessandro Scarlatti, all represented with concertos on this new Glossa recording.
The four major conservatories in the city created an astonishingly productive and innovative environment for musicians – students and their teachers alike. The composers here all studied or worked in the conservatories or at the Cappella Real. The Neapolitan concerto had its own structure at this time, which was quite different to that found in the Venice of Vivaldi, and there was a constant competitive spirit for soloists to demonstrate their virtuosity.
As they showed with their earlier Glossa recording of Il Spiritillo Brando, the members of La Ritirata are more than a match for their Neapolitan predecessors in both stylishness and technique. The soloists gathered by Josetxu Obregón represent some of the leading musical lights in Spain today: violinist Hiro Kurosaki (in a Fiorenza concerto), recorder-player Tamar Lalo (Scarlatti and Mancini), harpsichordists Ignacio Prego and Daniel Oyarzabal (Pergolesi) and not least, Obregón himself who is the cello soloist in works by Fiorenza and Porpora.
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1-4. Porpora: Sinfonia in C major for violoncello, violins and b.c.
5-8. Mancini: Concerto in G minor for recorder, 2 violins, violoncello and b.c.
9-11. Pergolesi: Concerto for 2 harpsichords and strings
12-15. Fiorenza: Concerto in D major for cello, 2 violins and b.c.
16-19. A. Scarlatti: Concerto in C major for recorder, 2 violins, violoncello and b.c.
20-22. Fiorenza: Concerto in D major for violin and strings