Cimarosa Overtures 3 on Naxos: Nice, But Not More

Review by: David Hurwitz

Artistic Quality: 8

Sound Quality: 9

The best way to describe this music is “homeopathic Mozart”. There are nice moments, but Cimarosa spreads his material pretty thinly among the lively triadic themes, lyrical second subjects, and the occasional touching slow interlude, all diluted in vast tracts of generic musical business. The overture to Artemisa, regina di Caria was said to be the composer’s favorite, but it’s difficult to see why. I nemici generosi features an attractive clarinet solo, here very well played by Denitsa Laffchiev, and several of these pieces (L’eroe cinese, I due baroni di Roccazzura, and Cajo Mario) are relatively lengthy if not otherwise notably substantial, lasting around 10 minutes apiece. So while they don’t all sound the same, you do get a very clear sense of what to expect. The music’s lightness also is reinforced by the lack of minor keys.

Each disc in this series has featured different performers, but it’s probably fair to say that this release is the best to date. The Sinfonia Finlandia plays with consistent alertness and transparency. Most of these overtures are scored for a basic ensemble of oboes, horns, and strings, with additions as necessary (such as that solo clarinet), but Patrick Gallois ensures that even with limited forces Cimarosa’s use of color gets underlined wherever possible. This isn’t great music, but it is pleasant, and it’s easy to understand why Cimarosa’s undemanding style achieved such wide popularity in his lifetime. The engineering is excellent.



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Recording Details:

Reference Recording: No reference recording

  • CIMAROSA, DOMENICO:
    Le astuzie femminili 1 & 2; Artemisa, regina di Caria; Il mercato di Malmantile; Cajo Mario; I due baroni di Roccazzura; Le stravaganze d'amore; I nemici generosi; L'eroe cinese

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