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Concerto Caledonia - Mungrel Stuff - The Sunday times Culture Magazine

09 September 2001
The Sunday Times Culture magazine
Stephen Pettitt

FRANCESCO BARSANTI, born in Italy, lived and worked in Edinburgh for eight years. His better-known compatriot Francesco Geminiani didn't set foot in Scotland at all. Yet both were beguiled by Scottishness in music. The different styles and approaches of the Italian and (obscure) Scottish composers represented here pleads for the first few listens to be undertaken without following the track listings. Is this piece by a Scot trying to be Italian, or by an Italian trying to be a Scot? Is it Scottish with added Italian suavity, or Italian with a Scottish tang? The sublime - Barsanti's song arrangements, deftly inflected by Concerto Caledonia's players - rubs shoulders with the ridiculous - Lorenzo Bocchi's A Scot's Cantata, the banality of whose guttural text is worthy of McGonagall. Everything is infectiously played and sung. Bizarre, but utterly compelling.
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