Steffani - Lagrime Dolorose: Secular Cantatas | Brilliant Classics 94299

Steffani - Lagrime Dolorose: Secular Cantatas

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Label: Brilliant Classics

Cat No: 94299

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Genre: Vocal/Choral

Release Date: 2nd December 2013

Contents

Artists

Marta Matheu (soprano)
Aurelio Schiavoni (alto)
Mauro Borgioni (bass)
Fabio Ciofini (organ, harpsichord)
Accademia Hermans

Conductor

Fabio Ciofini (organ, harpsichord)

Works

Steffani, Agostino

Fileno, idolo mio
Guardati, o core
Hai finito di lusingarmi
Il piu felice e sfortunato amante
Lagrime dolorose
Spezza amor l'arco

Artists

Marta Matheu (soprano)
Aurelio Schiavoni (alto)
Mauro Borgioni (bass)
Fabio Ciofini (organ, harpsichord)
Accademia Hermans

Conductor

Fabio Ciofini (organ, harpsichord)

About

Taking its cue from the rediscovered union between music and words, the cantata underwent a serious transformation during the 17th century, giving voice to affetti (the language of emotions) through adopting a range of formal structures that adhered to the poetic text in question. The genre became the brand name of composers considered Italian - including Agostino Steffani, one of the leading opera composers of Scarlatti's generation.

Having trained as a priest, Steffani spent the majority of his career balancing between musical and ecclesiastical duties (which were not always reconcilable). His output, besides approximately 20 operas, includes sacred music, instrumental works and collections of cantatas for one to three voices. Among the latter, the Sei scherzi a voce sola con accompagnamento di piffari o di violini - the subject of this recording - holds a special place, with the conventionality of the poetic texts (all of which refer to the idyllic pastoral sphere) contrasting strongly against the composer's often highly unconventional musical choices. From the recitatives to the cavatas and arias, the text is continually masterfully rendered, thanks also to the refined use of instruments that accompany the voices and which are also used independently (in the preludes and refrains).

In these works, therefore, we observe the skills of an opera composer but also those of an excellent contrapuntist, the influences of instrumental models (Corelli) as well as vocal ones (Scarlatti, Carissimi), and the Italian roots and openness to a European context in which the role of this indefatigable bishop composer merits reassessment.

Founded in 2000, the Umbria-based Accademia Hermans - an ensemble specifically dedicated to the early repertoire - breathes new life into these musical gems, works which document the rise of a genre that became the principal form of Italian Baroque vocal chamber music.

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