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John-Pierre Joyce
MusicWeb International, December 2009

these works are of considerable charm and historical interest—standing solidly within the Classical period and recalling Mozart’s middle concertos…these concertos reflect the original dedicatees’ tastes and abilities.

Concerto No. 1…was written for harpsichord, and dedicated to an Italian lady-in-waiting to Catherine the Great…Cast in three movements, it is a straightforward but pleasing work. The simple Larghetto (track 2)…has a plain but engaging quality, while the final Rondo includes some lively interaction between the soloist and orchestra.

The third concerto is the more complex of the trio…The brilliant, playful first movement (track 4) ripples with tricky arpeggios which Francesco Nicolosi calmly takes in his stride…The final concerto, No.5, is equally bland…

…this is a very listenable disc. The playing by both soloist and orchestra is lively and warm, and the sound recording is equally clear… © 2012 Read complete review

Robert R. Reilly, October 2009

Giovanni Paisiello (1740–1816) wrote eight keyboard concertos that brim with felicitous melody. Naxos gives us Nos. 1, 3, and 5, with pianist Francesco Nicolosi and the Campania Chamber Orchestra, under Luigi Piovano. These are light works, but what charm! Even a young Mozart would not have been ashamed of them. In fact, Paisiello was one of Mozart’s chief opera rivals. I have known these works for years and never fail to get refreshment from them. That is what they are for, so go ahead and enjoy them with Nicolosi’s deft performances.

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, September 2009

Time was when the only concerto by Paisiello available on records was the first one in C Major. Several complete sets (he composed eight) have come and (presumably) gone, so this disc is welcome, though if the idea is to do all eight, why only three on this relatively short (49:51) CD? Francesco Nicolosi gives us spirited performances here and enjoys solid support from the orchestra.

James Manheim, September 2009

Known mostly as an operatic contemporary of Mozart, Giovanni Paisiello had a long life and generally managed to prosper through the upheavals of the eighteenth century’s last decade. He wrote eight keyboard concertos clearly marked by operatic style. Part of his early career was spent in the service of Catherine the Great in Russia, and the first of the three concertos recorded here was composed in the early 1780s and dedicated to one of the Empress’ notorious ladies-in-waiting…The expansive Piano Concerto No. 1 in C major is the most interesting of the three, with extremely Mozartian outer movements. The architecture is less intricate than that in Mozart, but the striking treatment of the winds suggests that Paisiello knew the works of Mozart’s early maturity. The hefty central movement with its discursive wanderings resembles an operatic scene, less Mozart-like, but equally unusual. The other two concertos, written for a Parmesan princess later in the 1780s, are more modest in scale but also attractive…the first concerto is well worth knowing for pianists and Classical-period lovers alike.

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2009

The life story of Giovanni Paisiello comes straight from the world of fiction as he rubbed shoulders with royalty, moved around Europe and frequently changed alliances to ensure his own success. Born in 1740 at Taranto in Italy, he became known as one of the major opera composers of his day, his final tally of works in that genre exceeding eighty, and though his orchestral music was less numerous, it did contain eight keyboard concertos. At the time he was the Italian rival to Mozart in Vienna, but in hindsight he was a composer who did not press forward stylistic boundaries. The First came from the early 1780s and was intended for the harpsichord, a point that becomes obvious in this piano performance, for you can imagine how charming the central movement would sound on that instrument. All three concertos are in the usual fast-slow-fast format, the central Largo drawing the most inspired music, with the finales full of good humour and happiness, but rather predictable. The Third and Fifth—both quite short—came later in the 1780s, most certainly intended for the fortepiano and for the entertainment of Princess Maria Louisa of Parma—later to become Queen of Spain. The quality of the accompaniment was of a higher degree, though the solo role still has tendencies towards the use of a harpsichord, the Third  concerto particularly enjoyable with its fast and busy opening Allegro. The Italian pianist, Francesco Nicolosi, has already recorded for Naxos label the Second and Fourth concertos [8.557031], and is here a neat and undemonstrative soloist who lets the music speak for itself. The Campania Chamber Orchestra, and conductor, Luigi Piovano, do all that is necessary, though the music makes no great demands.

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