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Stradella: San Giovanni Battista / De Marchi, et al

Album Summary

>Stradella, Alessandro : San Giovanni Battista, oratorio
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Notes & Reviews:

Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) - until he was murdered in Genoa - enjoyed a dazzling career as a freelance composer, writing on commission, collaborating with distinguished poets, producing over three hundred works in a variety of genres. His distinctive style is characterized by fluid lines, skillful counterpoint, and harmony which occasionally offers chords that were unusual at the time and still sound striking even today. The oratorio 'San Giovanni Battista' was written for performance on Palm Sunday in the Holy Year of 1675 in which some fourteen oratorios were commissioned by Rome's confraternity of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini. In their first recording for Hyperion, Alessandro De Marchi leads the Academia Montis Regalis, the acclaimed Italian period-instrument orchestra which has earned a solid international reputation since its founding in 1994.

'When you learn that Handel owned an early copy of the manuscript all the pieces begin to fall into place; here is a perfect example of the Italian manner that was to influence him so fundamentally ... Each soloist is given masses of opportunity to display their bravura technique, both as individuals and jointly, when they comment on the action in some lovely choruses and madrigals ... De Marchi really scores in his choice of soloists. Salome is sung by the exquisite soprano Anke Herman, Battista by the firm-voiced countertenor Martin Oro and the court counsellor by the excellent tenor Fredrik Akselberg, but the star of the disc is the bass Antonio Abete who as Herod thunders through some truly stunning arias' (The Observer)

'Stradella is probably more famous for having been murdered ... than for his music. That's a pity, for the latter, vital, free-flowing and bold, is well worth exploration. The oratorio San Giovanni Battista, composed in 1675, is one of his finest works, a thrilling drama calling for virtuoso singing of the highest order. The Academia Montis Regalis's playing is wonderfully alive' (Sunday Times)

'Stradella's score, characterized by constant variety, is ravishing throughout ... The whole band plays with tremendous panache and stylistic aplomb' (International Record Review)

'If you haven't heard this recording, you won't believe your ears... This is as stunning a piece and performance as I've heard from this era since Noah Greenberg introduced Salamone Rossi to us a half-century ago - possibly better, because the music is far more modern for its time. The strings of the Montis Regalis Academy dig and bite into the music with a relish far too rare nowadays. The singers... perform this music as if they really mean it, with a proper legato, vocal shading, and dramatic commitment that you must hear to believe. By the time the disc is ended, you are not only emotionally drained but also stunned. This is not just another 17th-century oratorio; this is a major masterpiece, musically and dramatically so original, innovative, and advanced... this one is the performance I'll savor for a long time to come' (Fanfare, USA) 'The performance is very good, with some superb singing and great playing - the contrast between the concertino group and the orchestral tutti is very dramatic' (Early Music News)

'In dichten 88 Minuten spult Stradella mit großen dramatischen Effekten, hinreißenden Chorälen und brillanter Orchestrierung die Geschichte von Johannes dem Täufer und die Liebe zu Salome' (Musik/Klassik/Neuerscheinungen)

'Alessandro De Marchi, sympathetic and stylistically informed, keeps things moving thus producing a sense of dramatic continuity... Academia Montis Regalis employ no vibrato at all; however, their clean tone and intonation and balanced, full-bodied sonority make for present, supportive accompaniments, while the players are vital and sensitive in their solo passages and movements... The sound quality is excellent' (Opera News)


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Works Details

>Stradella, Alessandro : San Giovanni Battista, oratorio
  • Performers: Antonio Abete (Bass); Fredrik Akselberg; Elena Fedi (Voice); Anke Herrmann (Soprano); Martin Oro (Countertenor)
  • Conductor: Alessandro Marchi
  • Notes: Oratorio Santa Croce, Sala Ghislieri, Mondovì (03/28/2007-03/31/2007)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 1 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Cantata/Oratorio
  • Written: 1675