Auser Musici / Carlo Ipata

Neapolitan Flute Concertos

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The program presented on this release is one more typically found on small labels specializing in the Baroque era than on the major and sonically sumptuous Hyperion label, but for those who enjoy the virtuoso instrumental music of the Baroque it will live up to its surroundings. Naples in the middle of the 18th century was the largest city in Italy and one of the 10 largest in the word. Then as now, Naples attracted distinguished visitors with its scenic surroundings, but it was a hot, chaotic place from which creative people departed if they could. Of the big three Neapolitan opera composers, Leonardo Leo, Leonardo Vinci, and Niccolò Jommelli, only Jommelli is represented here. It's hard to detect traces of their novel operatic styles in these flute concertos, which are nicely oriented toward solo display without losing a sense of overall balance. As a group, they attest to the high standard of musicianship in the great metropolis of the Italian south. It's hard to know how well Vivaldi's music was known in Naples, hundreds of miles away from Venice, although Hasse and other composers traveled between the two cities; at any rate, Vivaldi seems a likely model for this music, which, even in the minor-key concerto of Gennaro Rava, is energetic and sunny. Brisk, tight performances by flutist Carlo Ipata and the regional-Italian specialist ensemble Auser Musici are assisted by fine engineering. The names of the composers on this album are almost unknown, but that's because the Naples repertory, aside from opera and often even there, remains almost unknown in general, which in turn may be because musicologists would rather spend their grant money in Florence or Venice than Naples. These concertos suggest the presence of more nuggets in the ground. Booklet notes are in English, French, and German.

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