The desire to promote the heritage of Spanish traditional music lies at the heart of the compositions of Manuel de Falla and Federico García Lorca. To achieve their aims, both men relied heavily on the great flamenco artists of their day, imbuing their work with the authenticity of an age-old popular tradition. Flamenco singer Estrella Morente and pianist Javier Perianes recreate that thrilling combination of tradition and passion in these authentic performances of Spanish canciones.
Italian historical-performance specialist violinist Frederico Guglielmo has led several different ensembles and offered various interpretive styles, as violinist and as conductor, in his approach to the violin music of the Baroque in Italy and beyond. His take on Handel's Water Music is brisk and rhythmic, but this collection of orchestral and solo violin music by the virtuoso Francesco Maria Veracini, whom the historian Charles Burney described as "capo pazzo," or crazy in the head, is a good deal quieter and more circumspect, with a small, violin-heavy ensemble that allows the wind parts to show through in the two orchestral overtures included.
Vivaldi's operas are rarely recorded and even less often performed, but happily they are gradually gaining more exposure. The most familiar and most frequently recorded is his 1727 Orlando Furioso. The fact that it has been on the public's radar is due largely to an excellent 1977 recording starring Marilyn Horne and Victoria de los Angeles, which has been reissued on Erato. The opera has since been recorded twice, and a DVD of a 1989 San Francisco Opera production featuring Horne and Kathleen Kuhlmann has been released. The newer CDs are extraordinarily fine; in choosing between Naïve's 2005 version led by Jean-Christophe Spinosi and this CPO release conducted by Federico Maria Sardelli, the listener is in a win-win position. Both feature stellar soloists, who are also compelling actors, and beautiful orchestral playing.
Antonio Vivaldi composed Arsilda, Regina di Ponto for the Venetian theater of Sant'Angelo in the fall of 1716. While Vivaldi had, by its debut, been an important member of Venetian musical culture for over a decade as a violinist and composer, he had begun composing only three years earlier. Domenico Lalli, his librettist, who settled in Venice in 1710 after fleeing his native Naples upon being charged with embezzlement, was one of the most important librettists of the first decades of the eighteenth century.