Annalisa Martella

Baldassare Galuppi: Il Buranello

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"Il Buranello," reads the cover of this CD. And then: "Passatempo al cembalo." These notations indicate, respectively, the nickname of composer Baldassare Galuppi, who was born on the Venetian island of Burano (whose charateristic multicolored houses are shown in the watercolor on the cover), and the title of the collection of six keyboard sonatas recorded here. These pieces were composed around 1781, far later than most of Galuppi's keyboard music, which dates from the middle of the century. Nothing here evokes the Galuppi works that called forth Robert Browning's great meditation on decline ("Death came tacitly, and took them where they never see the sun"); despite the protestations of annotator Dinko Fabris, this is pretty slender stuff. All the sonatas, except for the first, are in two movements, and most of the movements are in a plain binary form. The exploitation of the big Taskin harpsichord (a copy is used here), from the end of the instrument's heyday, is artful, but Galuppi relies too much on cheap effects, such as a shift from an Alberti bass to a triplet accompaniment that is then stolidly left in place for the rest of the movement. The performances by harpsichordist Annalisa Martella are competent but rather dry. In his earlier keyboard works Galuppi is close to Scarlatti's realm at times, but this disc is primarily of interest to those with completist collections of eighteenth century music.

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