Saturday, May 14, 2011

Ariosti - The Flowering and Fading of Love (Cantatas) - Musica Solare







Attilio Ariosti, an Italian composer of the generation of Alessandro Scarlatti, was born in Bologna, and ordained as a priest. His first compositions were oratorios, but after composing his first opera in 1697 he concentrated on writing music for the theatre. A year before he had entered the service of the Duke of Mantua, who sent him to Berlin to the court of Sophie Charlotte, Electress of Brandenburg. He was appointed 'maître de musique' and became Sophie Charlotte's favourite musician. Later on he worked at the imperial court in Vienna, where he was held in high esteem by Joseph I. He worked as one of Joseph I’s diplomats in Italy, and after Joseph's death entered the service of theAttilio Ariosti Duke of Anjou, the future French king Louis XV. His output is rather limited in comparison to that of some of his more famous contemporaries. This is almost certainly down to his many activities as a diplomat, but also as a music teacher and an interpreter; he was a singer and played the keyboard, the cello and the viola d'amore. Darja Großheide writes: "The present cantatas form a sonnet sequence, ranging from 'La Rosa' (The Rose) to 'Il Naufragio' (The Shipwreck) and the final 'La Gelosia' (Jealousy). This has suggested the title 'The Flowering and Fading of Love'". She doesn't give any evidence that Ariosti himself presented these cantatas as a cycle. And at first sight it seems that some of the sonnets have nothing to do with love. But there are several reasons to support Ms Großheide's view. These are very nice cantatas, and the performers fully explore their expressive qualities. The soprano and contralto have beautiful voices, which are very pleasant to listen to, and vividly communicate the feelings of the protagonist. The recitatives are sung with some rhythmic freedom, but the singers could have taken more liberties in this respect. The instrumentalists give fine performances, showing great sensitivity for the way Ariosti has illustrated the text in his music.


flac, scans

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