Duetti per Soprano, Contralto E Basso Continuo

By Roland-Silverstein, Kathleen | Journal of Singing, September/October 2017 | Go to article overview

Duetti per Soprano, Contralto E Basso Continuo


Roland-Silverstein, Kathleen, Journal of Singing


Marcello, Benedetto (1686-1739). Duetti per soprano, contralto e basso continuo. "Cerco ognor con la speranza"/"Ecco il petto, ah non fuggiteVVaghe calme d'Amor, piii non vi credo"/ "Ofortunato" [Tirsi e Ciori]/ "Colpensiero vi bacio, v'adoro"/"Piagarmi non puô i cor." Ricordi, Antonio Frigé, editor, 2015.

Venetian composer and nobleman Benedetto Marcello was a contemporary of Antonio Vivaldi, as well as his nemesis. Marcello wrote a scathing satire of opera of the time, "Il teatro all modo," which earned him some notoriety and a great deal of animosity from Vivaldi and other composers. Marcello was a statesman, legal advocate and writer, as well as a composer. Singers and teachers are familiar with Marcello from a well known and beloved aria, "II mió bel foco ... Quella fiámmá che m'accende," which, in the light of present day scholarship, may or may not be his creation. His works comprise a host of vocal chamber works, including madrigals for two, three, and four voices, psalm settings, oratorios, masses, chamber cantatas, and at least fifty duets. The six duets contained in the collection have been taken from a larger collection, Duetti del Nobil Huomo Benedetto Marcello.

The musical devices used by Marcello are varied and exquisite. "What is most striking," writes editor Frigé, "is the extreme care the composer took to match the poetic images with his choice of means." Although the creators of the poems are not known, the editor posits, in the beautiful introduction, that Marcello himself might have penned many if not all the texts. He successfully uses both "mimesis of emotions and metonymy ...," thereby referencing Renaissance madrigals, to striking effect. It is hoped that Ricordi will continue to make available more of Marcello's duets in future publications. …

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