Niccolò Zingarelli Milanese Symphonies Surprise

Niccolò Zingarelli is best remembered as a composer of operas. Over the course of his career, he composed around 37, mostly comic operas. But he also wrote other in other forms, too. This release presents four of his “Milanese” symphonies.

The works were given this name by musicologist Rey Longyear. It references the Conservatory of Milan, where the manuscripts are housed. Zingarelli arrived in Milan in 1793 and composed for La Scala through 1803. These symphonies date from an earlier time, around 1780.

Zingarelli was about 28 years old, and the Sturm und Drang movement was in full bloom. These four symphonies show some of those traits, especially with the wide dynamic contrasts between sections.

The symphonies are all in three movements, and concise. What sets them apart from, say, the symphonies of Johann Stamitz are their melodies. Zingarelli the opera composer brings his skill to these instrumental works. The slow movements especially have beautifully crafted melodies.

The Atalanta Fugiens Orchestra directed by Vanni Moretto performs in a refined Classical style. There’s plenty of drama, but none of it is overwrought. The melodies have an Italian lilt to them, revealing their kinship to Zingarelli’s operas.

The ensemble is recorded in a somewhat spacious venue, giving the music an expansive sound stage. It softens the sound a little, but I think it makes complement’s Zingarelli’s style.

Niccolò Zingarelli: Sinfonie Milanesi Nos. 5-8
Atalanta Fugiens Orchestra; Vanni Moretto, conductor
Urania Records LDV 14068

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