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Il Giardino Di Rose Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import

4.0 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import, May 11, 2004
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Grave-Presto-Largo-Presto-Presto
  2. I. Allegretto Comodo
  3. II. Andante Con Spirito
  4. [Allegro]- Adagio E Staccato
  5. I. Allegro Moderato
  6. II. Andante Con Espressione
  7. Spiritoso-Adagio-Allegro
  8. I. Allegro
  9. II. [Presto]
  10. Largo-Presto-[Largo]-[Presto]-Allegro
  11. I. Andante
  12. II. Allegretto Moderato
  13. Presto-Allegro
  14. I. Allegro
  15. II. Allegretto
  16. Adagio-Presto-Largo E Piano-Allegro
  17. I. Andantino
  18. II. Andante Con Moto

Product Details

  • Audio CD (May 11, 2004)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Hybrid SACD - DSD, Import
  • Label: Decca Import
  • ASIN: B00013UKLU
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #581,547 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Morten Fuglestad on July 16, 2011
Alessandro Scarlatti was a truely great composer, but a "difficult" one, with a profound understanding of both counterpoint and instrumentation, as recogniced by most professional musicians and writers on music of the time. The concertos recorded here are probably NOT by Alessandro Scarlatti. However the six accompanying sinfonias are genuine Alessandro Scarlatti, and music of a much more refined type than the concertos, whoever that composer may be...

Alessandro Borin writes in the accompanying notes: "As far as we know today, it is by no means possible to come to any conclusions about the origin and autorship of the six pieces of music to be found in the manuscript ADD.32431 in the British Library. [...] It cannot be excluded either that its likely spurious nature is in some way due to the establishment of the Scarlatti legend at the time, and to the existence of a particularly dynamic and recepitive market; [...]". (Booklett, p. 11)

The sinfonias are all thoughtprovocing and well played. As to the worth of the concertos I disagrees with Borin, these concertos are so different in style from the Scarlatti sinfonias that they seems to be an odd mix, and thus they do not give any further insight into the music which they are programmed toghether with. This CD is the result of marketing gone wild. I do understand that concertos by that prolific composer Anon. is not a going to be a "best-seller", but Decca doesn't serve either Alessandro Scarlatti or Ottavio Dantone here. Anyway - thanks for the interesting booklet and six outstanding sinfionias that are "echt" Scarlatti and splendid recorded sound.
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... but I know what I like. I DO know somewhat more than my share about 17th Century music performance, and perhaps that knowledge keeps me from appreciating this recording with innocent ears. The musicianship is excellent, the overall sound is suave and decorous, the scholarship is plausible, and yet I don't like the final product much. That's a disappointment, as it is when I put money and ear-time into any CD.

It's the bottom line of interpretation, of style, that I find dissatisfying. It's important to realize that what the Accademia Bizantina is playing is not strictly the work of Alessandro Scarlatti. Rather, all the harpsichord concerti are elaborate reconstructions by Ottavio Dantone, from a single very sketchy manuscript. Dantone is quite forthright about his reconstruction, and describes his efforts in interesting detail in the note booklet. He also performs on a modern harpsichord built "after" a 17th C Venetian model. What puzzles and disappoints my ears is the oddly piano-like timbre of Dantone's harpsichord, in the very oddly "modern orchestra" timbre of the Accademia. Their sound is too thick, too orotund, for Scarlatti. There seem to be too many strings on every line, though in fact the orchestra is of a plausible size. There's no lift to the ornaments, no wit in the orchestration. This is Scarlatti half way to sounding like Sibelius.
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The problem with Allesandro Scarlatti is that he just wasn't as talented a composer as some of his contemporaries were. Sure, he imbibed the baroque forms, but his compositions seemed more like regurgitated cliches than anything striking or original. Try as he might, Scarlatti simply couldn't live up to the measure of a Handel, Bach or Vivaldi. In fact, it wouldn't be amiss to describe his work with that dreaded b-word that can be the death of any artist: Boring. Still, he was highly respected in his own time, even enjoyed royal patronage, and his compositions represent important historical documents. So we really can't fault anyone for wanting to work with his music.

Thank heavens, though, that such a talented ensemble as the Accademia Bizantina undertook this effort. The Accademia is a highly skilled collective, and they succeed where others might have failed. They bring an emotional intensity to these works, giving them a sense of both gravitas and drama. At the same time, the Bizantina is careful to avoid finessing the music with too many frivolous flourishes, a temptation to which many baroque performers succumb. The acoustics are masterful, too. You can hear each member of the string section, for instance, instead of just a mish-mash of violins. You can also feel the bows travelling across the bridges of these instruments, and the warming effect is physically palpable. I also feel compelled to say something kind about the unsung harpsichord player who turns in a stellar performance here. Somewhere along the way he cranks out a blistering solo or two, as though he were a 17th Century version of Eddie Van Halen. I'm tempted to rip the corset off of a Parisian maiden, but such a gesture would be improper. All in all, a collection of super-stellar renditions, even if the music is only so-so.
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In my opinion Alessandro Scarlatti is one of the greatest baroque composers. His instrumental music is less boring and much more creative than Vivaldi's and Telemann's. I put him at the same level as Händel and Buxtehude. The only composer that really surpasses him is, of course, BACH.
These performances are extraordinary in that they show how brilliant he was. Although some of the sources for the music on this album are spurious and incomplete, this music is full of surprises and different emotions. It is sparkingly rendered by the Accademia Bizantina.
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