Francesco Feo was one of the greatest Neapolitan composers of the first half of the 18th century. During a career extending from 1713 through 1760, the year before his death, he remained in Naples, where he composed operas, oratorios, cantatas, masses, passions, psalms, and canticles, among other works. His setting of Metastasio’s first opera libretto, Siface, led to commissions from Rome and Turin. His growing fame resulted in commissions from Madrid and Prague; Hasse, resident in Dresden, where Feo’s works were also performed, wanted to entrust Feo with leading the premiere of a serenata he wrote for Naples. The music historian Charles Burney praised his works for their “fire, invention, and force in the melody and expression in the words.”
The world has not yet fully discovered the riches of the impressive music libraries and archives of Portugal. They testify to the often complex trajectories followed all over Europe by a repertoire of splendid pieces, many of them showing the extent to which the Italian style had taken root in eighteenth-century Portugal. The superb mass by Pergolesi recorded here is a highly characteristic example. But the ensemble Turicum wanted to go even further in their exploration of this repertoire, accompanying the mass with performances of works by composers now totally (and unjustly) unknown, such as Antonio Gallassi and David Perez, not to mention Leonardo leo, acknowledged in his own time as a supreme master of sacred music.