Nicola Porpora is best known now as a composer of opera, in which he rivalled Handel in his own era. Most of his output was for the voice, so it should come as no surprise that this set of attractive sonatas abounds in melodic movements which sound and sing more like arias than strictly instrumental, ‘abstract’ compositions. Indeed, as one of the foremost members of the Neapolitan school which was so influential across Europe in the first half of the 18th century, he was among the most prized singing teachers of his day, able to write melodies which were adjusted to an individual singer like a couture suit, and then no less valued for schooling those singers both in vocal technique and more individual considerations of personal expression through the voice.
The ‘vocal’ impression of these sonatas, especially in their slow movements, is intensified by the choice of cello, which
most nearly approaches the compass of the human voice. Cellists have always retained an affection for the sonatas since they were first published over 250 years ago, but opportunities to record them complete have been few and far between. Thus this stylish new recording has a place for itself in the crowded market for Italian Baroque chamber sonatas.
Adriano Fazio studied with the great Brazilian cellist Antonio Meneses, and something of his master’s interpretative invention may be heard in his own playing, as has been recognised by audiences across Europe and competitions throughout Italy, as well as his own pupils at masterclasses and summer schools in Arezzo and Naples. He is now a specialist in the Baroque cello.
Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) was one of the most important and successful composers of the Neapolitan School in Italy. His fame was widespread as he worked in the European capitals London, Dresden and Vienna, where his works were successfully staged. Porpora was also a singer and teacher, which explains the strong vocal quality of his instrumental works. The 6 Cello Sonatas recorded on this CD try to emulate the “vox humana”, expressing the human emotions through instrumental virtuosity and phrasing. The manuscript of the 6 Cello Sonatas lists Porpora and Constanzi as composers, but very probably the works were written by Porpora alone. Beautiful performances by Adriano Fazio, cello and an instrumental continuo ensemble featuring violin, cello, theorbo and harpsichord.