Born in 1672 in Naples where he trained as an organist and composer, Francesco Mancini became one of the most prominent composers of Neapolitan opera in the eighteenth century. The Solos for a Flute, published in 1724, were a collection of Sonatas dedicated to John Fleetwood, the English consul to Naples and himself an amateur flautist. Hoping to gain himself a steady remunerative position in England, Mancini designed this flattering dedication to take advantage of the popularity of Italian music in London and the rise in prominence of wind music at the time. Fleetwood died the year after the Solos were published and Mancini never moved from his native Italy. The quality of these works was nevertheless recognised in England and the Solos for a Flute achieved great success. The Sonatas, as the individual
Solos are called, follow the usual four- or five-movement structure established by Corelli, wildly popular in England at the time. Clear Neapolitan influences are present, however, in elements such as the minor tonalities and almost operatic melodies employed in the slow movements.
This collection of substantial excerpts from the set is performed by the Tempesta di Mare Chamber Players, the Philadelphia-based early music ensemble, which has been recording exclusively for Chandos since 2004. Gwyn Roberts, co-director of the ensemble, playing a variety of period flutes and recorders, is the soloist.