Brilliant Classics has already published all 88 of Domenico Cimarosa’s keyboard sonatas in their commonly encountered appearance as harpsichord pieces (BC95027), as well as an album of 30 sonatas in arrangements for guitar (BC94172). He may still be better known as a composer of comic opera, for masterpiece such as Il matrimonio segreto, but this new album of the sonatas in versions for organ celebrates the variety and adaptability of Cimarosa’s idiom and demonstrates why he was so lionized in his own time.
The painter Delacroix preferred Cimarosa’s music to Mozart’s. Stendhal wrote that he would rather be hanged than be forced to state which of the two he preferred. Even the notoriously partial Viennese critic Eduard Hanslick lavished praise on Cimarosa’s wonderful facility, inventive compositional strokes and refined taste, and Goethe, no less, directed several productions of his operas.
Perhaps Cimarosa’s sheer fluency has told against his posthumous reputation: where to begin with 88 attractive sonatas? In his own booklet introduction, Andrea Chezzi explains that he has reviewed all of them and chosen 21 which seem particularly suitable for performance on the organ. He has ordered them to alternate slow and fast pieces, made marginal adjustments such as a few pedal doublings, and recorded them here on a historically appropriate instrument by Andrea Boschini (before 1755) and Giovanni Cavalletti (1814), located in the Sanctuary of the Beata Vergine dello Spino, Brugneto di Reggiolo, in the Italian province of Reggio Emilia.
Andrea Chezzi’s previous recordings for Brilliant Classics have attracted glowing
reviews, such as the Op.1 harpsichord sonatas by Baldassare Galuppi (BC95253): ‘The performance by Chezzi is bold and decisive… It is a disc with music that can excite the imagination, performed with grace and style by Chezzi. It also shows that Galuppi is more than just a pretty operatic face.’ (Fanfare, July 2016) The same could justly be said of Cimarosa thanks to this new album of his evergreen sonatas.
Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801) was one of the best known composers of the Neapolitan School. He held several important musical posts throughout Europe (St. Petersburg, The Emperor Leopold in Vienna) as a highly successful composer of operas. His best known work is the opera Il Matrimonio Segreto, which brought him universal fame.
Cimarosa’s output for keyboard consists of a great number of sonatas, short, one-movement works, charmingly melodious, witty and entertaining.
On this new recording the Sonatas are played on the organ, a common practice in a time when the distinction between instruments was not clearly defined yet.
Andrea Chezzi plays two historic instruments: a Andrea Boxchini (before 1755) and a Giovanni Cavalletti (1814).
Andrea Chezzi made two successful recordings for Brilliant Classics with works by Galuppi and C.P.E. Bach.