Magazine article Gramophone

Feo: San Francesco Di Sales

Magazine article Gramophone

Feo: San Francesco Di Sales

Article excerpt

Feo

San Francesco di Sales

Monica Piccinini, Roberta Mameli sops

Delphine Galou contr Luca Tittoto bass

Stuttgart Chamber Orchestra / Fabio Biondi vn

Glossa (F) (2) GCD923409 (138' * DDD)

Little known today, Francesco Feo (1691-1761) was a Neapolitan composer and teacher, a contemporary of Leonardo Leo and Niccolo Jommelli. He composed a number of operas, the most famous being Siface, re di Numidia, plus sacred music. Charles Burney described his works as 'full of fire and invention' but his reputation faded in the 19th century. The indefatigable Fabio Biondi has unearthed one of his oratorios for this recording. The first performance of San Francesco di Sales, Apostolo del Chablais took place in Bologna in 1734. It is an oratorio on a small scale in terms of its scoring--four soloists, chamber choir, standard Baroque orchestra--but of considerable length (2h 18' here).

The oratorio focuses on Francois de Sales, Bishop of Geneva and later canonised as a saint. He was known for his religious writings and, in the 20th century, he was proclaimed patron saint of Catholic writers. Feo's work, to an anonymous libretto, doesn't set any action or events from the saint's life but is more a series of reflections where 'Deceit' and 'Heresy' are pitted against Francesco and an Angel. …

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