Thursday, 14 February 2008

56. Alessandro Scarlatti - Cantatas (1688 - 1720)


Title: Scarlatti - Hasse, Salve Regina- Cantatas & Motets
Performers: Deborah York, James Bowman, The King's Consort et al.
Director: Robert King
Year: 1996
Length: 50 minutes


This is some beautiful music indeed, the Cantata is usually seen as the poor cousin of the opera, but actually its lack of emphasis on being performed means that it compensates by its beautiful musical flourishes.

Each and every piece of music here by Alessandro Scarlatti is extremely interesting and very, very beautiful, actually it feels a lot more like later Baroque of the style of Vivaldi and so forth than most of the music we have heard before.

The recording also contains works by two other composers, but the Cantatas are truly the highlight for me, they have an immense range of emotion, form mournful to jubilant and everything in between sung marvellously, particularly the Cantatas by Deborah King. And the Largo Infelici Miei Lumi is particularly amazing,with some lovely dissonances.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

Scarlatti's music forms an important link between the early Baroque Italian vocal styles of the 17th century, with their centers in Florence, Venice and Rome, and the classical school of the 18th century, which culminated in Mozart. His early operas (Gli Equivoci nel sembiante 1679; L’Honestà negli amori 1680, containing the famous aria "Già il sole dal Gange"; Pompeo 1683, containing the well-known airs "O cessate di piagarmi" and "Toglietemi la vita ancor," and others down to about 1685) retain the older cadences in their recitatives, and a considerable variety of neatly constructed forms in their charming little arias, accompanied sometimes by the string quartet, treated with careful elaboration, sometimes by the harpsichord alone. By 1686 he had definitely established the "Italian overture" form (second edition of Dal male il bene), and had abandoned the ground bass and the binary form air in two stanzas in favour of the ternary form or da capo type of air. His best operas of this period are La Rosaura (1690, printed by the Gesellschaft für Musikforschung), and Pirro e Demetrio (1694), in which occur the arias "Rugiadose, odorose", and "Ben ti sta, traditor".

None of this is on youtube, but there is a lovely video of Teresa Berganza singing Violette by Scarlatti:

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