FERRANDINI ‘Al Santo Sepolcro’
The Venetian composer Giovanni Battista Ferrandini (1709 91) worked in Munich and then retired to Padua – where he met the young Mozart in 1771. In fact, there are some tangential connections between the two composers: Mozart’s La finta giardiniera and Idomeneo were both composed for Munich’s Residenz court theatre, which was inaugurated in 1753 with Ferrandini’s Catone in Utica. His Il pianto di Maria Vergine was formerly thought (wrongly) to be composed by Handel 30 odd years earlier, and dissimilar recordings by Anne Sofie von Otter with Musica Antiqua Köln (Archiv, 7/94), Agnès Mellon with Arion (earlymusic.com), Bernarda Fink with Il Giardino Armonico (L’Oiseau-Lyre, 9/09) and Maria Keohane with the European Union Baroque Orchestra (ERP, 4/14) confirm that Ferrandini’s sepulchral cantata is a plangent miniature masterpiece.
Roberta Invernizzi’s rare genius for making listeners hang rapturously on every word and musical gesture is fully to the fore in this live Austrian radio recording. More than any of the aforementioned versions, she strikes the perfect balance between spiritual sincerity and dramatic narration. The solemnly beautiful string parts in the arias are impeccably shaded by L’Opera Stravagante, and some of the instrumentalists reconfigure as the viol consort Gambe di Legno in O spettacolo pur troppo funesto. This contemplation of the crucified Christ’s promise of salvation in Paradise to the good thief features archaic scoring for viols and concertante archlute, and these are spellbinding in the long slow aria ‘Del Vostro Dio mirate’. This is apparently a limited edition – so snap up these intelligently refined performances while you can.