Stephen Sutton’s ever eclectic divine art label provided us with both the catchy title for this blog post and the pleasurable music contained in a new release of Baroque music by Vivaldi and Facco.

Facco, did I say?

Yes, I too had never heard of this most unfairly neglected of composers. Giacomo Facco was born in 1676 in the Most Serene Republic of Venice, the warmongering in-spite-of-its-title City State where composers like Vivaldi, this CD’s other and better known featured composer made their careers count for something.

But Facco chose to cast his lot farther to the South and west of the City on the Lagoon and off to Madrid he went at age 24, where he fell in the good graces of the Royal Family and became Music Master to the household of the Infante and eventually a member of the King’s household.

By a cruel twist of fate, all but a handful of the dozens of compositions penned by Facco were lost in a fire in the Royal Palace. Then, by another twist of fate – a beneficial one this time around – a set of twelve of his concerti, entitled Pensieri Adriarmonici ended up in – of all places – a nunnery in Mexico DC.

By a series of fortuitous events, Facco’s work came into the care of Mexican musicologist and maestro Miguel Lawrence, who brought together a group of the country’s finest Early Music players to record two of Facco’s and six of Vivaldi’s concerti – two of them with the exotic Mexican psaltery deputizing for the Baroque guitar for which it would have been written, and another for sopranino recorder.

The fine dozen players of the Mexican Baroque Orchestra, conducted by Miguel Lawrence, do lovely work on all eight of the concerti, featuring throughout the excellent violinist Manuel Zoghi, Daniel Armas playing with brilliance the intriguing Mexican psaltery, and Maestro Lawrence playing the sopranino recorder with panache and elegance. The obligatory Baroque continuo is strongly provided by Juan J. Puente on the guitarrón mexicano. Marieta Lazarova, Jared Ahedo, Rodrigo Martinez, Caleb Ahedo, Stanislav Ouchinsky, Connie Ruiz, and Marco Estrada are the marvelously musical members of the string section.

The CD is elegantly packaged and impeccably engineered by Pedro Wood.

Rafael de Acha