Serenata follows the captivating path of songs for voice and fortepiano through places, time periods and languages. It is a journey that starts in the German Baroque, goes through the Viennese Classicism, crosses the Atlantic to João VI’s colonial Brazil, and docks at Porto dos Casais - a location that has Azorean origins. The album Serenata is a musical journey that covers a period of over 100 years through songbooks accompanied by the fortepiano - an instrument which precedes the modern piano and is presented in this album with its entire sonority. Love, humor, melancholy - feelings and human perceptions that resonate in this repertoire and that still find lively resonance nowadays.
The fortepiano used in this recording is a copy of an instrument made by Johan Andreas Stein in Augsburg, Austria, in 1784. Stein was one of the pioneers in making fortepianos and his instruments were among young Mozart´s favourites. The mechanics of the double-layer leather covered hammers and the absence of lead as a counterbalance on the keys provides a light and agile touch.” (César Ghidini, harpsichord and fortepiano builder).
Bartolomeo Cristofori (Padua, May 4th 1655 – Chatte, January 27th 1731) an Italian musical instruments maker was dissatisfied with the dynamic possibilities offered by the harpsichord and realised that the sound production mechanism of that instrument – through plectrums that plucked strings – was exactly the reason why nuances of soft and loud were not possible. Thus in 1709, Cristofori built a new model of harpsichord, in which the usual plectrums were replaced by little hammers that hit the strings. Originally nicknamed as gravicembalo col piano e forte and afterwards just fortepiano – this is when the predecessor of the modern piano was born.
Fortepianos are still built in relatively small numbers, when the occasion asks for higher sound and style accuracy in historically oriented performances.
Having the possibility of access to this rare instrument, harpsichordist Fernando Cordella and soprano Cintia de los Santos, two well-known names in the national and international concert and chamber music scene, considered Baroque and Classic periods specialists, have joined together to record this CD which embraces works by J.C. Bach, W. A. Mozart, Marcos Portugal and XVIII and XIX century Azorean songbooks.
I have had the luck of working with these fabulous musicians in several occasions. I highlight Cintia´s beautiful timbre, musical intelligence and interpretative vigor. Regarding Fernando, in addition to his technical refinement, his stylistic sense and musical competence are qualities worthy of distinction.
Despite its importance as a historical record of this instrument, I would dare to say that solely because it was made by this duo of extraordinary artists, Serenata is already in itself an essential item in a classical music lover´s CD collection - whether he or she is an amateur or expert appreciator.
© CARLOS RODRIGUEZ , 2019