domenica 9 novembre 2014

Giovanni Battista Bassani - La Morte Delusa

26 tracks - MP3 192 Kbps - RAR 87Mb

Oratorio a 5 voci, cornetto, 2 violini e basso (1696)

Four of Giovanni Battista Bassani’s oratorios survive from his stay in Ferrara in the second half of the 17th century. This splendid example‚ written in 1683 to commemorate Pope Innocent XI’s victory over the Turks‚ provides more agreeable evidence of the sheer wealth of musical accomplishment from this time. Bassani may be a minor figure but he has a commanding control of instrumental colour and an assured sense of how to court a conceit. He composed at a time when‚ unlike the emerging conventions of opera‚ idiosyncrasy in oratorio still had a shelf life. This suits the allegorical La Morte Delusa (or ‘Death Confounded’) where – in an otherwise organised academic polemic‚ typical of its day – figures such as Piety‚ Glory‚ Death‚ Justice and Lucifer battle it out for the good of the Christian message.It is not the narrative which appeals especially but rather the acute representation of Piety (bright and breezy but who frankly becomes a bit of a prude) and the pivotal role of La Morte. Emanuela Galli’s Piety is a striking contribution‚ while La Morte (Daniela del Monaco) is vocally less even‚ and yet she warms to the delectable and haunting textures in ‘Ombre nere della Tromba’ at the end. Like many such arias‚ in an emergent da capo culture‚ the music is comparatively short­breathed compared to‚ say‚ Scarlatti; but I keep returning to the beautifully weighted exchange of reflective sections and action­oriented ones‚ each of which deserves the listener’s undivided attention.Italian 17th­century music can be notoriously disjointed‚ but there is an effortless momentum here. Much of this is down to the fine direction of virtuoso cornettist Jean Tubéry. He is quite simply a marvellous player‚ who makes you wonder why the cornetto ever faded away. One’s grateful too that he can bring the splendid alto‚ Philippe Jaroussky (La Gloria) and others‚ to respond to the scrupulously considered qualities in Bassani’s score – which incidentally employs the cornetto in an unusually prominent way. The continuo is always alive to new ‘rappresentativo’ opportunities and La Fenice alert to fleeting changes of atmosphere in a tuneful and entertaining work. Quite a find‚ and superbly recorded.

Emanuela Galli, soprano - La Pietà
Daniela Del Monaco, alto - La Morte
Philippe Jaroussky, alto - La Gloria
Francois Piolino, tenore - La Giustizia
Jean-Claude Saragosse, basso - Lucifero
Ensemble La Fenice
dir. Jean Tubéry

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