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David Denton
David's Review Corner, June 2020

The seventh and final volume of a series that has gathered together overtures to the operas by the Italian-born Domenico Cimarosa, now including oratorio overtures.

He was undoubtedly the most popular purveyor of stage works in the second half of the 18th century, though it was a prolific output of church and instrumental music that sets him apart from other composers of his generation. It is said that it is within the realms of possibility that, when meeting tight deadlines, he resorted to the use of other composers in the creation of overtures, that possibility being fuelled by the lack of similarity between overtures and the content of the work that followed. Whether there was any truth in that we will never know, but Cimarosa was a skilled orchestrator, as we find in the overtures to the oratorios, Judith and Absalom, both from 1782, their content lengthy and distinguished enough to have come from an early Haydn symphony. Certainly he self-recirculated music was used to create the 1797 Rome oratorio, San Filippo Neri che risuscita Paolo Massimi, the overture showed him working in the style of Mozart. Moving to opera the sprightly overture to Il convito (The Banquet) set the scene for one of his most successful Venice operas, this dating from 1782. Eleven years later, Amor rende sagace (Love Leads to Wisdom) was a failure in Vienna—even though the overture was typically Haydnesque—and the year later he was enjoying success in London with Il capriccio drammatico (The Theatrical Whim). Turn the clock back to 1777 and the young Cimarosa was writing the overture for Gaetano Monti’s opera Il matrimonio per sussurro, ossia Il cicsbeo discacciato, an uncomplicated foretaste of the future. Here, and throughout the disc, the veteran opera conductor, Michael Halasz, draws weighty performances from the Czech orchestra in excellent sound. © 2020 David’s Review Corner

Records International, June 2020

One of the last exponents of the Neapolitan School, Cimarosa’s bracing and vivacious overtures in this final volume include the hugely popular Il convito, a triumph in Venice and Florence, as well as some examples of his expressively moving overtures for oratorios. © 2020 Records International

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