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Artemandoline : Les Galanteries –Mandoline Music from 18th Century Paris : CD

ZANEBONI: Sonata per Mandolin e Basso: DE GISTAU: Minuetto Afandangado: CIFOLETTI: Ariette: DENIS: Air de Julie; Air du Serrurier; Air du Deserteur: ALTIERI: Tre Sonate per due Mandolini: CRAMER: Petit Air: CARPENTIER: Ariette: ANON: Sonata in Gm: de FERREIRA: Sonata per Mandolino Solo e Basso: SIGNORELLI: Sonata per Mandolino e Basso.


Brilliant Classics: 94636

The mandolin came into vogue in 18th century Paris, where the nobility and middle class became fond of its charming, and melodious qualities .This CD presents an exquisite number of works written for the mandolin: genre pieces, sonatas and arias written by composers mostly forgotten nowadays, but highly fashionable in their time. The ensemble Artemandoline did extensive research into this genre, taking painstaking efforts to recreate it specifically by playing on period instruments.

The opening work by Giuseppe Zaneboni (1735 – 1790), is a Sonata for Mandolin and Bass is in three movements , A dancing Allegro that weaves all over the strings, an emotive Andante where the two instruments combine in a very haunting way, and a final Menuet that has plenty of movement and a great deal of finger work in both parts.

Spanish composer Salvador Castro de Gistau (born 1770) wrote a number of works for guitar including the Minuetto Afandango, and an Andante con Variazioni which follow the classical tradition but are none the less entertaining pieces to hear.

Giovanni Cifolelli (1745 – 1810) was an Italian mandolin virtuoso who mainly wrote musical dramas, and operas. This little Ariette for Soprano, Mandolin and its deeper relative the Mandola is short but pleasant and melodic and nicely performed.

There are three songs from Pietro Denis (1720- 1790) a French virtuoso, teacher, and composer for the mandolin. He wrote an instruction method for the instrument, and here we find three Airs for Soprano, Mandolin and Guitar which are friendly, light and airy pieces, again showing off the excellent playing and singing of these performers.

Paolo Altieri (1745 – 1820) was very diverse in his compositions with his list of compositions being very varied and quite extensive. Here his Tre Sonate per due Mandolini, an Allegretto, followed by an Andantino, and a final Allegretto are all very light and airy with some very difficult places in the music that the performers make light of, and everything is lots of fun and beautifully played.

Wilhelm Cramer (1746 – 1799) was a London virtuoso violinist, of German origin, and his Petit Air for Soprano, Mandolin and guitar is a short but amiable little piece that is pleasant but not particularly memorable, whilst Abbe Joseph Carpentier’s tiny Ariette for the same line-up is more serious and even shorter but has plenty to say in its brief time.

The following Anonymous Sonata in Gm for mandolin and mandola is truly deserving of a composer’s name as it is one of the highlights in this recital, even though its Allegro, Andante, and Presto only just take up three minutes in total, with the final Presto particularly entertaining with its moments of muffled playing by both players.

Aleixo Botelho de Ferreira was a Portuguese composer about who little is known. The Sonata for Mandolin and Bass is, as usual in three movements, a vibrant Allegro Moderato, a pleasant Andante, and a final Rondo Allegro that has plenty of movement and is a fitting conclusion to what is an entertaining work.

The final work is a five movement Sonata, again for Mandolin and Bass by Italian player/composer Cristoforo Signorelli, consisting of an opening Allegro, followed by an Allegro Giga and then yet another fast movement, an Allegro ma non Tanto, before the lovely slow movement that is the Andante, and completed by a Minuetto, stately but dignified in its music, and a fine ending to this very varied album of entertaining music, beautifully played and sung, and nicely recorded, with a large amount of composers whose music was completely unknown to me.

Chris Dumigan

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