Luigi Gatti: Chamber Music

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GATTI Serenata a più stromenti di Concerto. Sestetto • Calamus Ens • MDG 603 1589-2 (63:01) Yet another forgotten contemporary of the great classicists, Luigi...


GATTI Serenata a più stromenti di Concerto. Sestetto Calamus Ens MDG 603 1589-2 (63:01)


Yet another forgotten contemporary of the great classicists, Luigi Gatti (1740–1817) was born in Italy’s lake district; studied in nearby Mantua, where he also became a priest; and established himself as a singer, conductor, and composer of note. In the latter capacity his esteem was such that his works were accepted for performance at Milan’s La Scala. In 1783 he was appointed music director of the court of Archbishop Hiermonymus Colloredo in Salzburg, where he served for the remainder of his life. The best-known of the musicians under his supervision there was music’s most famous doting parent, Leopold Mozart, his celebrated son Wolfgang having since departed for Vienna. After the younger Mozart’s demise, Gatti helped his sister, Nannerl, find and preserve some of the scores that had been left in the court’s archives. Gatti himself left a legacy of more than 150 works, ranging from operas, of course, to service music, but also including occasional music, two samples of which are here recorded. These are substantial works. The 34-minute Serenata consists of four movements in symphonic sequence (Allegro, Adagio alla Romanza, Menuetto, Allegro). The Sextet, with a five-movement configuration more typical of a divertimento, has a healthy running time of 29 minutes. Of the two the Serenata may have more staying power, but both are tuneful and obviously the work of a skilled craftsman and clearly not the model for Mozart’s Musical Joke . While one could not make a case for the elevation of Gatti to the pantheon on the basis of these two genial works, both probably fulfilled their function as entertainments at the court. I suspect that this disc came my way because of the scoring: The Serenata calls for oboe, bassoon, two horns, and string quintet; the Sextet for English horn, bassoon, and strings. MDG’s notes indicate that the oboe was Gatti’s wind of choice in his compositions—not at all surprising, since neither the flute nor the clarinet were fully established members of 18th-century orchestras. The double reeds here are not the center of attention, but serve instead as foils to the characteristically dominant first violin, as one might expect in a typical serenade of the period. This release is for the curious and/or adventurous. The performances could not be better.


FANFARE: George Chien


Product Description:


  • Release Date: February 01, 2010


  • UPC: 760623158921


  • Catalog Number: 6031589-2


  • Label: MDG


  • Number of Discs: 1


  • Composer: Luigi Gatti


  • Orchestra/Ensemble: Calamus Ensemble


  • Performer: Elisabeth Polyzoides