Apart from Haydn this is the composer, 30 years his senior, from whom Mozart seems to have obtained his ideas and inspiration. So much so that while in the process of writing this review, someone else in the room exclaimed: “Is that Mozart you’re listening to?” Even a paragraph from the booklet notes points out: “The name of Pasquale Anfossi is strictly bonded to the one of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and one would not exaggerate stating that Anfossi had displayed some influence on the Austrian composer. Mozart indeed, not only did he name him in some of his letters, but he also felt great admiration for the Italian Maestro, to the point of being inspired by him in the making of some themes.” As well, it seems that Mozart composed and added two soprano arias to Anfossi’s opera “Il Curioso Indiscrete” for a 1783 performance in Vienna.

Pasquale Anfossi (1727-1797) was an Italian composer whose focus was on writing operas and oratorios. Various sources with differing accounts, estimate his output to be somewhere between 45 to 70 operas, and around 20 oratorios. Riding the wave from the late baroque music era to the shores of the early classical music period, his music was somewhat restrained and in keeping with the trends of the day, but sometimes as in the Overture in E flat (audio clip below) it demonstrated a spark of creativity.

This release, which features world premiere recordings, brings together some of his best instrumental Sinfonie and Ouverture from these operas. The Czech National Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Alessandro Fabrizi infuse his music with the same degree of elegance and wit that one would expect to hear when listening to Mozart operas, and also bring out its somewhat concealed dramatic flair. Listening to this recording is sure to make you realize that maybe little Wolfgang was more derivative than original.

Jean-Yves Duperron – December 2022