Title - 'Out Of Italy'
Artist - Various
The 18th century experienced a mass migration of musicians from Italy hitherto regarded as the home of music seeking better fortunes in nations to the north.
Giacobbe Basevi Cervetto, Giambatista Cirri and Francesco Geminiani went to London, Luigi Boccherini to Madrid. Antonio Vivaldi aimed for Dresden though never arrived, having died en route in Vienna.
These Italian instrumentalists / composers and others are the focus of Out of Italy, a survey of sonatas and duos for two cellos and continuo by eminent baroque cellist Phoebe Carrai and her protégé Beiliang Zhu; many of them quite rare.
On her beautiful Italian cello, Carrai's project is, essentially music for two cellos with or without continuo. As aforementioned, and with all the tracks having been written by Italian composers who left Italy to seek fame and fortune, the album takes on an eerie sense of what could have been for these poor souls.
That said it now also celebrates them in a way that, perhaps, they might have been back in the day, so who knows.
Featuring full-bodied distinguished performances that offer a genuine point of view (Classics Today on Phoebe Carrais Bach Cello Suites) elegant and sensual, stylishly wild (The New Yorker on Beiliang Zhu), Out Of Italy also allows Carrais' former student, now thriving cellist, Beiliang Zhu to join the fray.
Joined by harpsichordist, Avi Stein and lutenist, Charlie Weaver, Beiliang and Carrais split the repertoire so that she gets the obvious fun of accompanying her as well.
An album that fairly skips along, this dynamic continuo team handles each track sublimely, the chosen 4 sonatas with continuo and 3 duos without from the baroque into the early classical eras the most perfect of choices.
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