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MusicWeb International, October 2012

This is the third volume in the Naxos tribute to the keyboard Sonatas of Baldassare Galuppi, as performed by Italian pianist Matteo Napoli.

Galuppi is at any rate justly famed for his huge contribution to opera buffa, but he was also a prolific and popular composer of keyboard music, particularly sonatas…His sound is original, his musicianship masterly and mellifluous. Sonata after varied Sonata is brimming with elegant melody and fluent invention, graceful and rewarding, and unblighted by bravura for its own sake.

…Napoli’s elegant, sensitive recital consists of a selection of Sonatas in various keys, ranging in length from four to eleven minutes, with a mixture of works of three movements and two, plus a single one- and four-movement item for good measure.

…sound quality is…at its best…the microphones are perfectly placed…there are fairly detailed notes on the works heard here. © 2012 MusicWeb International Read complete review

David Denton
David's Review Corner, September 2012

Having composed more than a hundred operas, comic and serious, Baldassare Galuppi became one of the most wealthy men in 18th century musical circles. He travelled through much of Europe, his compositions written while in Russia said to have formed the basis for music in the Orthodox Church. Among his diverse range of music, he created a catalogue of sonatas for differing solo instruments, of which many were for the keyboard. How much he wrote in total will never be known as his nomadic life left manuscripts scattered around Europe. This is the third volume of his known sonatas, and forms part of around 130 similar works thus far discovered. He was an outstanding creator of charming melody, though in his fast movements he shows a sense of bravura that could rival Domenico Scarlatti. They never followed a pattern, some having two very short movements, others extending to four of substance. Even within those differences, the overall mood of each work varied greatly. Go to track 4 for an immediate taste of Galuppi’s brilliance and the clean-cut quality of the playing of Matteo Napoli, an outstanding concert pianist now living in New Zealand. But there comes the rub, for these works were conceived for harpsichord, and try as he may to bridge the gap stylistically, he cannot overcome the tonal difference of his modern Steinway, and one is left thinking how the Larghetto and six variations of an E major sonata would have sparkled on the period instrument. Let us be grateful that such an ongoing project exists and turn to track 8, the opening Andantino to a Sonata in F major, for a melody a ‘pop’ composer could soon turn to their advantage. Good recorded sound. © 2012 David’s Review Corner

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