Parco della Musica Records’ first Christmas album, “La Chiarastella,” is an original album by Ambrogio Sparagna featuring the most famous Christmas carols of the Italian folk tradition elaborated for the Italian Popular Orchestra and performed together with exceptional musical guests. The collection preserves the original spirit in which these ancient sung folk prayers were composed. The album was recorded in January 2008, during the first edition of Chiarastella at the Auditorium. The repertoire consists of vocal and instrumental pieces from various Italian regions, including Tuscany, Marche, Lazio, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Sicily and Sardinia.
To enhance their naturalness, Sparagna entrusted them to the original interpretation of a female vocal quintet and some young voices from various parts of Italy among which Alessia Tondo, a very young singer from Salento, stands out. Alongside them some special guests: the voices of Peppe Servillo and Mimmo Ciaramella, along with Fausto Mesolella‘s guitar. Simone Cristicchi was given the task of interpreting some quest songs for Epiphany from the Tuscan and Lazio traditions. Other protagonists are some “singing trees” of the Italian folk tradition including Orlando Mascia, Sardinian launeddas virtuoso extraordinaire.
This extraordinary wealth of vocal performers is supported by the instrumental accompaniments of the Italian Popular Orchestra, characterized by the special use of typical string instruments, such as the hurdy-gurdy, and by a Quintet of bagpipes where the majestic sound of the giant bagpipe stands out: an instrument of extraordinary proportions (about two meters high), popularized in the Kingdom of Naples from the 18th century onward for the purpose of accompanying with its grave timbre, so similar to that of the organ, the songs introduced by Alfonso Maria deí Liguori.