In the late seventeenth century, all roads really did lead to Rome for the aspiring musician. There, wealthy aristocrats-turned-priests and Catholic nobility from across Europe vied for cultural status through artistic patronage. In particular, the young Pietro Ottoboni (1667–1740) reigned supreme among patrons of music, supporting among others Caldara and Albinoni, Alessandro Scarlatti and his son Domenico, and Handel, all of whom inspired and were inspired by one another. Musical gatherings of the time – called conversazione – often featured dramatic cantatas as well as virtuoso instrumental showpieces such as the works featured on this album. Recalling this fertile musical era, rising star countertenor Andrew Radley with Julian Perkins and his London-based period instrument ensemble Sounds Baroque, dispatch these entertaining vocal works with aplomb, interspersed with virtuosic harpsichord works performed to perfection by Perkins. With this, the first in a series of conversazione recordings, Sounds Baroque celebrates the passion, theatricality and sheer variety of music from the 17th and 18th centuries.
"...The performances are all well interpreted and musical, the recording sound appropiately intimate, and the choice of works nicely balanced... an excellent disc."
Bertil van Boer - Fanfare - March/April 2012
"...Counter-tenor Andrew Radley ... is superb... this is an excellent all-round performance from Sounds Baroque ..." *****
Adrian Horsewood - Early Music Today magazine - December 2011 - February 2012
Performance **** Recording ****
"... With delightfully expressive woodwind ’conversations’ topping and tailing the disc, classy continuo, and deftly imaginative programming. sounds Baroque proves a stylish ornament to the most discerning Cardinal’s Court. Roll on Conversazioni Vol 2!"
Paul Riley - BBC Music magazine - November 2011
"...The programme is a refreshing mix of chamber cantatas and solo keyboard works... harpsichordist Julian Perkins is a very congenial performer who conveys an air of effortless virtuosity to this handful of well-chosen works... English countertenor Andrew Radley is a fine singer and vocal dramatist ... I was very impressed with him and indeed with the whole ensemble. I look forward eagerly to the promised. "Conversazioni II"."
Andrew O’Connor - International Record Review - October 2011