La Luna

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La Luna, Ensemble for Seventeenth-century Music: Scott Metcalfe, Ingrid Matthews, violins; Emily Walhout, viola da gamba; Byron Schenkman, harpsichord. (Scott and Emily are active members of the King’s Noyse.).(WLBR 9605)

For centuries Italy was divided into a maze of small duchies and armed states that were continually at war with one another, or with the Kingdom of Naples in the south, owned by Spain. Andrea Falconieri was composer and musician to the Neapolitan court, creating music for the Spaniards’ particular tastes and fancies.

Falconieri’s collection of dance pieces, published in Naples in 1650, are tuneful, energetic pieces, fascinating in their ability to straddle dividing lines: stylistically they cut the absolute median between Italian and Spanish music of the period, while at the same time they manage to combine in equal parts qualities of the Renaissance consort’s dance suite with the sonority and verve of the new basso continuo chamber sonata of the stil moderno. La Luna’s performance is fully worthy of the music, evoking complex moods and emotions while keeping the toe atap.

La Luna absolutely wowed audiences at the 1997 Boston Early Music Festival. Brian Clark, writing in the UK’s Early Music Review, raved: “To say the least, this was an hour of sheer delight. From the very opening piece (Schmelzer’s Lanterley Sonata), they enchanted their audience with stunning roulades, impeccable ensemble (the violinists, particular have a common sixth sense) and, put quite simply, the sheer wonder of their combined musicality. Here was a bass player who could make her presence felt without becoming a blustering buffoon, and a harpsichordist who does everything right. It is utterly amazing that no major record company has discovered La Luna:… they are absolutely faultless and deserve to be more widely known.”

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