Pasquale Anfossi (1727-1797): Sinfonie, Ouverture. Concerto Classics. © 2022 Musicmedia srl

CD Spotlight

Impassioned Advocacy

Music by Pasquale Anfossi, highly recommended by GERALD FENECH

'... animated performances full of verve and spirit.'


Pasquale Anfossi (1727-1797) was an Italian composer and violinist who successfully ventured into all musical genres of his time. He was very much in demand, especially where opera was concerned. His production from 1774 to 1789 counts about forty such works, both serious and comic, and these were staged in several Italian cities as well as abroad. Most important, Anfossi was among the protagonists of the Neapolitan musical school and, together with such famous names as Piccinni, Paisiello and Cimarosa, he raised the level of Opera buffa to its maximum splendour.

In his works Anfossi managed to develop a tender and graceful lyrical vein that is able to leap easily to the comic using procedures that were later taken up by other contemporary composers. In Opera seria, Anfossi's production is directed decisively in the direction of the reform of Gluck and Traetta. Its originality, while following the usual tracks, is marked by a musicality of great dramatic power. Furthermore, Anfossi was part of the large group of enthusiasts of the 'Sinfonia', a musical form that the Neapolitan musical consolidated and developed with the enormous number of musicians who trained in the city, starting with Alessandro Scarlatti.

Anfossi also contributed considerably to sacred music with a number of Masses, Antiphons and Oratorios. As far as occasional music is concerned, the cantata L'Armonia certainly deserves mention. The music, reported missing, was fortunately found by musicologist Mario Genesi in 2022. This may sound strange, but Anfossi's music exerted a strong influence on a young Mozart. Indeed, in later music criticism, it was established that Anfossi's La Finta Giardiniera and that by Mozart have many similarities, and that the Salzburger often followed the formal schemes of Anfossi's work and even adopted its rhythmic invention.

This hugely entertaining disc is part of a project initiated by Concerto Classics, whose aim is to consolidate research of unpublished manuscript material preserved in the most important European libraries, proposing to music lovers the music of a great composer still little known.

Listen — Anfossi: First Movement (Alessandro nell'Indie)
(CNT2122 track 8, 2:17-3:03) ℗ 2022 Musicmedia srl :

A programme made up of short pieces might not seem ideal to assess the music of an almost unknown composer, but all ten pieces on this compilation reveal a Mozartian contemporary brimming with a melodic vein that has suppleness written all over it. Indeed, Anfossi's music has imagination, originality and a beautifully lucid mixture of texture and colour that make it so attractive.

Listen — Anfossi: Artaserse
(CNT2122 track 1, 1:59-2:58) ℗ 2022 Musicmedia srl :

Alessandro Fabrizi's conducting is consistently flexible, vibrant and permeated with an ardent desire to showcase what a gifted composer Anfossi is, and his Czech National Symphony Orchestra colleagues respond with some animated performances full of verve and spirit.

Listen — Anfossi: Overture in E flat
(CNT2122 track 17, 3:35-4:19) ℗ 2022 Musicmedia srl :

This is impassioned advocacy for an excellent composer who has been ignored for over two centuries. Sound, booklet notes and presentation are state-of-the-art. Highly recommended.

Copyright © 23 June 2023 Gerald Fenech,
Gzira, Malta



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