For this program of arrangements of music largely related to dance and folk songs, the performers have returned to the musical sources of Stravinsky’s Pulcinella. Transcriptions of ten pieces from the original music have been made by Steven Verhelst for brass quintet and harpsichord.
For the twenty-one movements of his ballet, Stravinsky brought together pieces from the Baroque and classical periods by the eighteenth-century Italians Domenico Gallo, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi and Carlo Ignazio Monza, the Netherlands duke and composer Unico Willem van Wassenaer andthe nineteenth-century Alessandro Parisotti. Only one of them remains known today: Pergolesi, who, shortly before his death, penned his immortal Stabat Mater which was to travel the world. In the manner of Stravinsky, who, as he admitted, gave old and forgotten music a new life by altering but little, so the musicians on this recording dust off the anonymity of unfamiliar composers and clothe them in a contemporary mantle.
Notable in the ballet music is that besides trio sonatas by Domenico Gallo, harpsichord suites by Carlo Ignazio Monza and a concerto grosso by Van Wassenaer, vocal pieces are also incorporated as textless dance music. These include arias from comic operas (opera buffa) by Pergolesi, such as Il Flamminnino and Lo Frate ‘Nnamorato, but also a sweet romantic song by Alessandro Parisotti (1853-1913), Si tu m’ami, which is a slightly odd man out within the complete sequence of movements, but through this very contrast fits so well into the vivid entirety of taut forms and lucid lines