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The "sympathetic madness" was exactly that spark that continued to distinguish the instrumental production of the "Neapolitans" and which also transpires from the literature by Barbella dedicated to almandol, an instrument very dear to aristocratic circles as can now be deduced, in a self-evident way, from recent studies on this tool always betrayed by a history that relegated it exclusively to a "street" or just "popular" practice. The Six Duos were composed for 2 violins or 2 mandolins, as was customary in the practice of the time, which saw the same compositions performed on different instruments. Barbella also composed music for mandolin alone. Although his writing is less idiomatic than that, for example, of his fellow countryman Giovanni Battista Gervasio (c. 1725 - c. 1785, himself a mandolinist), Barbella manages to combine a refined compositional style, which he learned in the Neapolitan conservatories, with techniques and the pizzicato sound of the new mandolin, creating a new way of writing, with harmonies and sounds that had probably never been heard before. The listener can still perceive this new sound today in the performance offered to us on this CD, where the choice of the musicians was to perform the Duos not with two violins or two mandolins, but with a violin and a mandolin. A sound that we can legitimately imagine to be not so far from that heard by the listeners and performers of the time, given the great diffusion that the instrument had throughout Europe, as the iconography of the time illustrates.
The "sympathetic madness" was exactly that spark that continued to distinguish the instrumental production of the "Neapolitans" and which also transpires from the literature by Barbella dedicated to almandol, an instrument very dear to aristocratic circles as can now be deduced, in a self-evident way, from recent studies on this tool always betrayed by a history that relegated it exclusively to a "street" or just "popular" practice. The Six Duos were composed for 2 violins or 2 mandolins, as was customary in the practice of the time, which saw the same compositions performed on different instruments. Barbella also composed music for mandolin alone. Although his writing is less idiomatic than that, for example, of his fellow countryman Giovanni Battista Gervasio (c. 1725 - c. 1785, himself a mandolinist), Barbella manages to combine a refined compositional style, which he learned in the Neapolitan conservatories, with techniques and the pizzicato sound of the new mandolin, creating a new way of writing, with harmonies and sounds that had probably never been heard before. The listener can still perceive this new sound today in the performance offered to us on this CD, where the choice of the musicians was to perform the Duos not with two violins or two mandolins, but with a violin and a mandolin. A sound that we can legitimately imagine to be not so far from that heard by the listeners and performers of the time, given the great diffusion that the instrument had throughout Europe, as the iconography of the time illustrates.
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The "sympathetic madness" was exactly that spark that continued to distinguish the instrumental production of the "Neapolitans" and which also transpires from the literature by Barbella dedicated to almandol, an instrument very dear to aristocratic circles as can now be deduced, in a self-evident way, from recent studies on this tool always betrayed by a history that relegated it exclusively to a "street" or just "popular" practice. The Six Duos were composed for 2 violins or 2 mandolins, as was customary in the practice of the time, which saw the same compositions performed on different instruments. Barbella also composed music for mandolin alone. Although his writing is less idiomatic than that, for example, of his fellow countryman Giovanni Battista Gervasio (c. 1725 - c. 1785, himself a mandolinist), Barbella manages to combine a refined compositional style, which he learned in the Neapolitan conservatories, with techniques and the pizzicato sound of the new mandolin, creating a new way of writing, with harmonies and sounds that had probably never been heard before. The listener can still perceive this new sound today in the performance offered to us on this CD, where the choice of the musicians was to perform the Duos not with two violins or two mandolins, but with a violin and a mandolin. A sound that we can legitimately imagine to be not so far from that heard by the listeners and performers of the time, given the great diffusion that the instrument had throughout Europe, as the iconography of the time illustrates.
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