The Neapolitans

'A delightful aural dessert cart … will offer much pleasure, even on repeated hearings, and the legendary Hyperion sound is another plus' --Fanfare

'A collection of Italian delights … [Durante's] Concerto No 8, La Pazzia, sounds like Vivaldi gone bananas'. 'The Raglan Baroque Players aren't the starriest of groups but on the evidence of this disc they ought to be' --The Times

Simply put, if you enjoy 18th-century violin music, you'll find an hour of pure pleasure listening to this expertly played program of unusual, rarely heard concertos by mostly lesser-known Neapolitan composers (Pergolesi excepted!). Elizabeth Wallfisch and her colleagues deliver performances that can only be described as ideal--sensibly paced, articulate, and to the point. They just play the music, albeit with sincere attention to its innate rhythmic energy and assertive melodic character.

There's a stylistic similarity to these pieces, but the spotlight moves from the vocally-inspired solo lines of Pergolesi's Concerto in B-flat and the A major sonata to the rich-textured orchestral dialog of Leonardo Leo's D major concerto for four violins.

This latter piece is a fine example of both string writing and formal baroque style. Francesco Durante's Concerto No. 5 for string orchestra is a fiercely agitated, vivacious six-minute work that's both unadventurous and fundamentally exciting. Considering the abundance of recordings that feature works by the best-known 18th-century masters, this release is a welcome alternative, one that clearly accentuates the virtues of music that's often passed over or relegated to second-tier status.

The sound couldn't be better--we hear soloist and ensemble in a natural setting that allows desirable space and intimate detail. --David Vernier, 

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