La Serenissima: The Godfather

The Godfather
Masters of the German & Italian Baroque
La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler
Signum Classics SIGCD602. 66’09

For long the undoubted champions of the music of Vivaldi, as their name suggests, La Serenissima are spreading their musical wings to explore the musical triumvirate of Telemann, Pisendel and JS Bach, all three closely connected, together with the composers Fasch, Vivaldi and Brescianello, who also had links with the principal trio. As La Serenissima note on their website, the links are that Pisendel was godfather to one of Telemann’s children; Telemann was godfather to CPE Bach;. JS Bach admired both Pisendel and Telemann and composed for the violinist Pisendel; Vivaldi helped Pisendel with his A minor concerto movement; Fasch was a friend of Pisendel and Telemann, and Pisendel played concertos by Brescianello, an Italian who helped to spread disseminate Italian instrumental music throughout the German-speaking lands. Continue reading

The Grand Tour: Bologna & Verona

The Grand Tour: Bologna & Verona
La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler
St John’s, Smith Square. 9 November 2016

Music by Torelli, Bononcini, Brescianello, and Dall’Abaco

La Serenissima have set out on a musical version of the 18th century Grand Tour of Italy, with a series of 6 concerts at St John’s, Smith Square. The started their tour with a concert in September devoted to music from Venice, their usual musical home, and for this concert travelled on to Verona and Bologna. The concert was in two distinct parts, starting with music performed in the enormous Basilica of San Petronio in Bologna, at the time the largest church in Christendom. Well before the completion of the Basilica, a musical foundation had been established (in 1436), and in 1476 a magnificent organ was built on one side of the choir. This was enlarged, and a corresponding organ added to the gallery on the other side of the choir, in 1596. Both organs survive to this day, in more-or-less original condition, and are amongst the most important surviving historic organs in the world.

In San Petronio, music was performed from the organ galleries, using the music desks built into the gallery frontage, and using the large organs as accompaniment to the singers and instrumentalists. Music was therefore Continue reading