Fanfonis Bring Mauro D’Alay Concertos to Life

Not much is known about Mauro D’Alay. He was born in or around Parma c.1687, and was a violinist of considerable renown. He was attached to the court of Princess Elisabetta Farnese.  And he followed her to Spain when she married King Philip V in 1714. 

D’Alay also did some concert tours. He had a successful run in London, and also in Germany. The works in this release come from that period. 

Five of these concertos were manuscripts preserved in the Dresden Sächsische Landesbibliothek. The Concerto “For Anna Maria” was found in the Conservatory of Venice library. 

Violinists Daniele and Luca Fanfoni had previously recorded D’Alay’s 12 Opus 1 concertos. As with those pieces, they edited the music for performance. 18th-century manuscripts require more editorial thought than printed material from the era.

Here the pair, along with the Reale Concerto, have created excellent realizations of this material. The concertos sound fresh and vibrant. D’Alay was an exceptional violinist. And he apparently expected anyone playing his music to be the same.

The Reale Ensemble has a nice, warm sound. The Fanfonis play violins of the period. They have a rich, full tone I liked. Daniele played a Gioffredo Cappa 1690 violin. Luca used a Lorenzo Storioni 1778 instrument.

The two solo instruments blended well. Yet they also had slightly different tonal qualities. And that difference made the duet passages especially effective. 

D’Alay is far from a household name. So it’s not surprising that these are all world premiere recordings. And yet the quality of the music makes me ask, “why haven’t these been recorded before?

Mauro D’Alay: The Dresden Concertos for violin, strings and organ
Concerto “For Anna Maria”
Daniele Fanfoni, Luca Fanfoni, violin
Reale Concerto

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