Notes & Reviews:
"Vedi Napoli e poi muori"; "See Naples and die." As the famous expression goes, there is nowhere in the world more beautiful than Naples, so once there, there is no need to go any further. This release invites you to experience a Neapolitan evening, or Serenata Napoletana, with a collection of beautifully soothing music for the mandolin and piano. Although at the end of the 19th century Naples was more famous for its songs than its instrumental music, it was actually a highly innovative period for the mandolin. Indeed, the two forms developed closely alongside each other, with some features crossing both vocal and instrumental music; the uniquely Neapolitan melodic lines come across strongly in both the voice and the mandolin, and the accompaniments also contain similarities, with the piano on this disc clearly invoking the flute that would normally accompany a singer. This release brings together 12 different composers to offer a fascinating selection of the music of this time, none of which has ever been recorded before. Almost all the featured composers studied or taught at Naples' renowned conservatoire, San Pietro a Majella, where the mandolin was given serious treatment as a classical instrument for the first time. These pieces are a fitting counterpart to the long established tradition of the Neapolitan canzone, and any lover of Romantic music will find themselves instantly transported to one of Italy's most seductive and evocative cities. These rare works are interpreted by young performers Raffaele La Ragione and Giacomo Ferrari. With Raffaele hailing from Naples originally, the two met while studying in Milan, and soon found a shared passion in these works. They have given several public performances together, of which the press praised for their "lyrical" and "elegant" playing. This release invites to you an evening in Naples, one of the most beautiful and romantic cities in the world, and listen to an enchanting collection of Neapolitan songs, played by the mandolin, the instrument most closely related to that city of cities, and accompanied on the piano. Most of these songs, which have never been recorded before, are from 19th century sources. They are a tribute to the mandolin, treated as a serious classical instrument in that time, and to the traditional Neapolitan song, whose sentiment and content are so closely related to its city of origin. Beautifully played by two young Italians, sharing their passion for this neglected genre. Unique opportunity to own works never published or recorded before. Extensive liner notes on the music by Raffaele La Ragione. Other information: Recorded in Naples in 2013.
American Record Guide, July/August 2015
These composers, all unknown to me, are mostly Neapolitan musicians from the late 19th Century. The pieces are parlor music, naturally melodic, sentimental, nothing especially inventive or substantial. We all enjoy some old-fashioned light music. And Ragione and Farrari play with total conviction and fine technical finish.
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