Agostino Steffani

Biography

Born: July 25, 1654; Castelfranco   Died: February 12, 1728; Frankfurt, Germany  
Agostino Steffani was an important Italian composer of vocal music from the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. His chamber duets, operas (generally written in the bel canto style), and sacred works constitute his finest efforts. Steffani was born in Castelfranco, near Venice, on July 25, 1654. He served as a choirboy at the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua from 1664-1667 under maestro di cappella Antonio dalla Tavola, who likely Read more gave him instruction in music. By age 11 Steffani was regularly appearing in operas and concerts, and a year later was taken to Munich at the behest of the Elector Ferdinand Maria of Bavaria.

Young Steffani sang in operas and in church services there while receiving excellent musical education under the guidance of the maestro di cappella of the Elector's Court, Johann Kaspar Kerll. By age 14 Steffani was taking organ lessons from Kerll, but rarely appearing as a singer anymore.

In 1672 he traveled to Rome to study composition with Ercole Bernabei. During his nearly two-year stay there, Steffani produced Psalmodia vespertina, a collection of Psalm settings, and a Magnificat. Shortly after Steffani's return to Munich in 1674 he was appointed court organist.

In 1680 he was ordained a priest and a year later appointed court director of chamber music by the new Elector Maximilian II Emanuel, whose father Ferdinand Maria died in 1679. Steffani would also take on duties as a diplomat with neighboring courts. In composition he remained quite active, too: having written his first opera Marco Aurelio in 1677, he composed his next four, which included Servio Tullio in the period 1685-1688, all premiered at the busy Munich Court.

Steffani left Munich in 1688 to work at the Hanover Court, where he spent 15 years as kapellmeister and diplomat. He composed several successful operas during his tenure there, including Orlando generoso (1691).

In 1702-1703 he produced a fine collection of chamber duets at Hanover, after which he accepted a post at the Düsseldorf Court of Johann Wilhelm, Elector Palatine. Thereafter Steffani composed very little. He was elected Bishop of Spiga in 1706 and apostolic vicar for Northern Germany three years later. He focused most of his energies on church matters in his later years, though he did manage to write a few works, including the Stabat Mater (1727-1728), his favorite composition. He died in 1728 of apoplexy. Read less

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Works

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Agostino Steffani


MOST POPULAR WORKS
Aria: Spezza, Amor, l'arco e li strali (Amor, break your bows and arrows)
Recitative: Cosi dicea Fileno (And so he spoke, Philenos)
Aria: Zeffiretti placidetti (Soft Zephyr)
Aria: Ruscelletti garuletti (I make the chattering)
Recitative: O ragion vuol che sia (Perhaps it is good the way it is)
Aria: Fortuna crudele (Cruel Fortuna)
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
Cuius animam gementem?. O quam tristis
Quis est homo qui non fleret?. Quis non posset
Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
Eja Mater, fons amoris? Fac, ut ardeat ? Sancta Mater? Tui nati vulnerati
Fac me vere tecum flere?. Juxta Crucem
Virgo virginum praeclara
Fac ut portem Christi mortem
Fac me plagis vulnerary
Inflammatus e accensus?. Fac me cruce custodiri
Quando corpus morietur? Fac ut animae donetur
WORKS
Act I: Sinfonia
Act I Scene 1: Duet: Sollievo del mio seno (Anfione, Niobe)
Act I Scene 2: Aria: Miratemi begl'occhi (Anfione, Niobe, Clearte, Nerea)
Act I Scene 3: Aria: E felice il tuo cor (Niobe, Clearte, Nerea)
Act I Scene 4: Aria: Quasi tutte (Nerea) - Scene 5: Recitative: Rio destin che pretendi (Clearte)
Act I Scene 6: Aria: Alba essulti, e il Lazio goda (Tiberino) - Scene 7: Suon di lontana Caccia (Tiberino, Manto)
Act I Scene 7: Aria: Se la vita a me donasti (Manto, Tiberino) - Scene 8: Tiresia cieco appoggiato ad un servo (Tiberino, Tiresia, Manto)
Act I Scene 8: Aria: Amor t'attese al varco (Tiresia) - Scene 9: Recitative: Svelo fatal la piaga (Tiberino, Manto)
Act I Scene 9: Aria: Tu non sai che sia diletto (Tiberino) - Scene 10: Recitative: Oh d'Amor troppo ignaro (Manto)
Act I Scene 10: Aria: Vuoi ch'io parli, parlero (Manto) - Scene 11: Dormi Creonte, e in tanto (Poliferno, Creonte)
Act I Scene 11: Aria: Dove sciolti a volo i vanni (Creonte, Poliferno)
Act I Scene 11: Aria: Nuovo soglio, e nuova bella (Poliferno) - Scene 12: A voi di Tracia, e Gnido (Creonte)
Act I Scene 13: Accompagnato: Dell'alma stanca (Anfione)
Act I Scene 13: Aria: Sfere amiche (Anfione) - Scene 14: Anfion mio desio (Niobe, Anfione)
Act I Scene 14: Aria: Vorrei sempre vagheggiarti (Niobe) - Scene 15: Eccola (Nerea, Clearte, Niobe, Anfione)
Act I Scene 15: E di sasso chi non t'ama (Anfione) Scene 16: E tu qual gelo, o sasso (Nerea, Clearte, Niobe)
Act I Scene 17: Aria: C'ho da morir tacendo (Clearte) - Scene 18: Forsennato vaneggia (Nerea)
Act I Scene 18: Aria: Che agli assalti degli amanti (Nerea) - Ritornello
Act I Scene 19: Recitative: Ecco Tebe (Poliferno, Creonte) - Scene 20: Oh di Lico infelice (Poliferno) - Scene 21: Popoli o voi, ch'un Tempo (Anfione)
Act I Scene 21: Aria: Come padre, e come dio (Anfione)
Act I Scene 22: Aria: Assistetemi (Nerea) - Scene 23: O d'insano ardimento (Tiresia, Anfione, Nerea, Niobe)
Act I Scene 23: Duet: Mia fiamma, mio ardore (Anfione, Niobe, Nerea) - Scene 24: Numi datemi aita (Tiresia, Manto, Tiberino)
Act I Scene 24: Aria: Di strali, e fulmini (Tiresia) - Scene 25: Discaccia il duolo (Tiberino, Manto)
Act I Scene 25: Aria: Nel mio seno a poco a poco (Manto) - Scene 26: Oh stravaganza (Tiberino)
Act I Scene 26: Aria: Quanto sospirerai (Tiberino)
Act I Scene 26: Ballo dei cacciatori: Rigaudons and Gigue
Act II: Sinfonia - Scene 1: Recitativo: Ritornate a gli abissi - Scene 2: Il gran portento Amici - Scene 3: Vien al fine la bella (Poliferno, Creonte, Niobe, Nerea)
Act II Scene 3: Aria: Qui la dea cieca volante (Niobe) - Scene 4: Giunge il Re (Clearte, Niobe, Polifemo, Creonte, Anfione, Nerea)
Act II Scene 4: Aria: Ascendo alle stelle (Anfione, Niobe, Creonte, Poliferno)
Act II Scene 4: Ballo - Alle prescritte Mete (Creonte, Poliferno)
Act II Scene 4: Aria: Numi tartarei (Poliferno) - Scene 5: Ove son? (Anfione)
Act II Scene 5: Aria: Dal mio petto o pianti uscite (Anfione)
Act II Scene 6: Aria: Confuse potenze (Tiresia, Tiberino) - Scene 7: Fuggiro questo Cielo (Tiberino, Manto)
Act II Scene 7: Aria: Il tuo sguardo o bella mia (Tiberino) - Scene 8: Odi come diverso (Manto) - Scene 9: Chi sei, dove mi guidi? (Niobe, Poliferno)
Act II Scene 10: Aria: Lascio l'armi, e cedo il campo (Creonte, Poliferno, Niobe)
Act II Scene 10: Duet: T'abbraccio mia diva (Creonte, Niobe)
Act II Scene 10: Aria: Gioite, godete (Poliferno) - Scene 11: Tu mi laceri il Core (Anfione, Tiresia) - Scene 12: Et ancor neghittosi (Anfione)
Act II Scene 12: Aria: Tra bellici carmi (Anfione) - Scene 13: De Tebani Pastori - Scene 14: Ratto sen va - Scene 15: Mi commove a pietade (Nerea, Tiberino)
Act II Scene 16: Aria: Questi giovani moderni (Nerea)
Act III Scene 1: Recitative: Delle celesti soglie (Creonte, Niobe)
Act III Scene 1: Aria: Amami, e vederai (Niobe) - Scene 2: Fuggi Creonte (Poliferno, Creonte)
Act III Scene 2: Aria: Luci belle (Creonte) - Scene 3: Qui, dove muto, e solo (Anfione, Niobe)
Act III Scene 3: Aria: Contro il Ciel (Niobe) - Scene 4: Nell'Egeo tempestoso (Anfione) - Scene 5: Con eterni Legami (Tiresia, Tiberino, Manto)
Act III Scene 5: Aria: Hor ch'e mio quel vago labro (Tiberino) - Scene 6: Foste al fine pietosi - Scene 7: Senza indugio Clearte - Scene 8: Vinti sono i Celesti (Niobe)
Act III Scene 9: Aria: Che alla fe di donne amanti (Nerea)
Act III Scene 10: Aria: Tutta gioia, e tutta riso (Clearte) - Scene 11: Fin dove m'inseguite (Anfione)
Act III Scene 12: Aria: Spira gia nel proprio sangue (Anfione, Niobe)
Act III Scene 12: Aria: Funeste imagini (Niobe) - Scene 13: Recitative: Doma e gia Tebe (Creonte, Poliferno, Tiberino, Manto, Tiresia)
Act III Scene 14: Aria: Di palme, e d'allori (Creonte)
Aria: Spezza, Amor, l'arco e li strali (Amor, break your bows and arrows)
Recitative: Cosi dicea Fileno (And so he spoke, Philenos)
Aria: Zeffiretti placidetti (Soft Zephyr)
Aria: Ruscelletti garuletti (I make the chattering)
Recitative: O ragion vuol che sia (Perhaps it is good the way it is)
Aria: Fortuna crudele (Cruel Fortuna)
Stabat Mater Dolorosa
Cuius animam gementem?. O quam tristis
Quis est homo qui non fleret?. Quis non posset
Pro peccatis suae gentis
Vidit suum dulcem Natum
Eja Mater, fons amoris? Fac, ut ardeat ? Sancta Mater? Tui nati vulnerati
Fac me vere tecum flere?. Juxta Crucem
Virgo virginum praeclara
Fac ut portem Christi mortem
Fac me plagis vulnerary
Inflammatus e accensus?. Fac me cruce custodiri
Quando corpus morietur? Fac ut animae donetur


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