"... Cimarosa’s music has an immediate appeal, and this is—to a great degree—because of its sparkle, not to mention its unfailing Italianate lyricism... Regardless of the schematic or character of the overture, Cimarosa’s music never fails when it comes to capturing and holding the attention of the listener. Cimarosa knew the orchestra and its instruments, and this is apparent throughout the run of this CD. A similar disc, but with different contents and spotlighting Alessandro Amoretti and the Nicolaus Esterhazy Sinfonia, was released on Marco Polo, later deleted and reissued as Naxos 8.570508. This disc from December of last year with Kevin Mallon and his Toronto compatriots is the second in the projected cycle, and holds rewarding interpretations that summon respect for the composer as well as admiration for the performers. With Mallon in charge, the music exudes a freshness that is a welcome surprise and that further commends these poised and erudite readings. Vigor, affection, and commitment abound here, and the music-lover unfamiliar with Cimarosa’s music should take the first opportunity to pounce on this release!"
Michael Carter - Fanfare - August 2008
"The Toronto CO under Kevin Mallon play with oodles of flair and refinement. The TCO is something of a hybrid, playing on modern instruments but otherwise adopting authentic performance practice – and thus proving, to me at least, that the ’authentic sound’ is if anything more due to how you play the instruments than to what instruments you use. If the sound of a ’period band’ – with its zero-rated vibrato and tendency of held notes to ’bulge’ a bit – is anathema to you, then steer well clear. Everyone else can join me in applauding all the alert articulation, keen textures, lithe rhythms and immaculate phrasing that are part and parcel of the best period performances... The recording is almost uniformly excellent... Admirably recorded in an ambience to die for, these are spirited performances."
Paul Serotsky - MusicWeb-International.com - March 2008
"...This is another fun one from Naxos featuring more openers from the operas of Domenico Cimarosa (1749-1801). He was the most famous and popular Italian opera composer during the latter half of the eighteenth century, and wrote over sixty-five stage works, nine of which are represented here. They adhere to the Italian overture, fast-slow-fast principle, and are delightfully melodic, highly inventive rousers which Classical period enthusiasts will find most appealing! Don’t be surprised if you hear commonalities between them, because Cimarosa had no compunctions about borrowing from his own works when a deadline loomed... All of the performances by the Toronto Chamber Orchestra under conductor Kevin Mallon are superb. The precision, sense of dynamics, and boundless energy he brings to these classical miniatures is exceptional. The recordings are resplendent and present an ideally focused soundstage with just the right amount of depth and reverberation - audiophiles should take note!"
Bob McQuiston - Classical Lost and Found - January 2008
"With each of these overtures, my admiration for Cimarosa grows. Although his fame rests on ’classics’ like Il Matrimonio Segreto,he had composed over 65 operas and a huge body of other works, notable for lively orchestration, crisp tempi and melodic invention - all brought to the fore by Kevin Mallon and his Toronto Chamber Orchestra, without doubt one of the finest chamber ensembles before the public today. The audio quality, too, is of demonstration calibre."
Giv Cornfield - The New Recordings - Cliffs Classics - February 2008
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