Cimarosa: Overtures Arranged For Mandolin Ensemble

Album cover art for upc 5028421966137
Catalog: BRI96613

Quintetto a Plettro Giuseppe Anedda

New, fun-filled arrangements—with historical authenticity on their side—bring bright and breezy curtain-raisers by a once-celebrated contemporary of Mozart to life. In a career not much longer than Mozart’s, Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) wrote an astonishing total of 64 works for the stage—as well as substantial collections of symphonies, concertos, and sonatas—that were performed across the length and breadth of Europe, from Lisbon to St. Petersburg. No less than Haydn, Cimarosa had the gift of melodic fluency and an unerring feeling for what his audiences wanted. Haydn himself conducted performances of 13 Cimarosa operas at Esterháza. Cimarosa specialized in light-hearted comedies, for which he supplied stylishly upbeat scores, shot through with Italianate lyricism, and a kind of impetuous vigour which was all his own. This quality makes his overtures particularly suitable for transcription to the kind of plucked-ensemble chamber versions heard on this enterprising new album. During the period after unification, the mandolin became a popular instrument much as the ukulele and the balalaika did elsewhere: relatively easy to learn, highly portable, and well suited to being played in ensemble as a kind of instrumental choir. Thus many arrangements of well-known classical pieces were made for the kind of mandolin ensemble heard here, naturally favouring operatic items by Rossini, Bellini, Donizetti and the other masters of the bel canto style. The Romantic-era quartet, consisting of two mandolins, mandola in G, and guitar was the preferred ensemble. Larger ensembles, known as plectrum orchestras, could achieve a quasi-symphonic texture, especially when supplemented by winds and bass instruments. The Anedda Quintet have devised a unique synthesis of the two approaches, adding a strong bass component to the classic quartet line-up. This collection of Cimarosa is mainly comprised of modern arrangements by the composer Michele Di Filippo, who had already collaborated with the Anedda Quintet for a previous Brilliant Classics album of Rossini arrangements (95904). In adapting these orchestral scores, Di Filippo aimed to make the melodies sing out while preserving a sense of dialogue, tension, and drama between instruments.

Price: $22.98