Magazine article Gramophone

A Scarlatti: 'Quella Pace Gradita-The Recorder and Violin Cantatas'

Magazine article Gramophone

A Scarlatti: 'Quella Pace Gradita-The Recorder and Violin Cantatas'

Article excerpt

A Scarlatti 'Quella pace gradita--The Recorder and Violin Cantatas' E perche non seguite, o pastorelle. Filen, mio caro, H263. Quella pace gradita, H610. Sconsolato rusignolo. Tu sei quella, che al nome, H743 Alicia Amo sop Giuseppina Bridelli mez Filippo Mineccia counterten La Ritirata / Josetxu Obregon vc Glossa (F) GCD923107 (66' * DDD * T/t)

Alessandro Scarlatti's immense output includes a staggering number of chamber cantatas, nearly 800 in all, most of them for solo voice and continuo, though around 100 include obbligatos for additional instruments. Four of them, however, dating from around the turn of the 18th century, deploy the seemingly unusual combination of one or more recorders with either two violins, or violin and cello. They're gathered together here by Josetxu Obregon and his ensemble La Ritirata, along with 'Sconsolato rusignolo', a stand-alone soprano aria, about which we know little, though it may be a fragment of another cantata, which has not survived complete.

Stylistically, they're pivotal in some respects, their concentrated amalgamation of recitative, arioso and aria peering back towards Cavalli, while the arias themselves deploy da capo forms that are less about ornamental display than terse immediacy of expression. The subject matter is predominantly pastoral, though Tu sei quella, che al nome jettisons rural trappings in favour of a direct depiction of a man's anger at cruel treatment at the hands of an unnamed woman. The finest of the four is Quella pace gradita, an elegiac piece in which the protagonist bids farewell to love before seeking solitude among the beauties of nature: Scarlatti's closely woven harmonies and his refined vocal writing sustain a mood of melancholy introspection here that proves deeply touching. …

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