Graun - Montezuma (highlights)
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Label: Australian Eloquence
Cat No: ELQ4805382
Number of Discs: 1
Release Date: 5th January 2015
London Philharmonic Orchestra
Carl Heinrich Graun was born into a musical family from Saxony in 1703 or 1704. At the age of sixteen he heard an Italian opera troupe under Antonio Lotti in Dresden, and became forever smitten. The music historian Charles Burney calls him "the idol of the Berlin school" - he had a melodic gift of a very high order and he understood exactly how to write for the human voice.
The plot of Montezuma is loosely modelled on Voltaire's 'Alzire'. Among the explorations made in the New World by the Spanish conquistadors under King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, those of Cortez were the most important and far-reaching in their effects. His conquests in what is now Mexico brought about the downfall of the ancient civilisation of the Aztecs, and one of the first to suffer was their emperor, Montezuma. He allowed the Spaniards to land in good faith, learning too late that his generosity would cost him his life. His tragic death, the story of Eupaforice, his betrothed, and the cruel behaviour of the Spanish general, form the background of this opera.
'the performance is lively, adroit and stylish, and the music is well balanced and well recorded [...] one wonders what other treasures await discovery’ - Gramophone
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