Vicent Martin I Soler: Il Sogno; La Dora Festeggiante
Martin / Soler / Rcoc / Bautista Otero
Vicente Martin y Soler
Juan Bautista Otero
Number of Discs:
1 Hours 16 Mins.
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Notes and Editorial Reviews
MARTÍN Y SOLER
La dora festeggiante. Il sogno
Juan Bautista Otero, cond; Sunhae Im, Raffaella Milanesi (sop); Magnus Staveland (ten); Royal C Op Co
RCOC 1001.2 (2 CDs: 78:05
Text and Translation)
Awaiting the arrival of his dinner guest, the Commendatore’s statue, Don Giovanni begins to eat. The band strikes up a tune. Delighted, the Don looks up from his supper and exclaims, “Bravi!
!” I imagine that it is
safe to assert that this is the only snatch of melody by Vicente Martín y Soler that most people will ever hear. It comes from his (at the time) very popular opera
Una cosa rara
, with a libretto by none other than Lorenzo da Ponte. I guess I can now claim to be one up or, rather, two up on most people since I have now listened to two secular cantatas (of the four that he is known to have written) by the well-traveled composer, whose popularity in some circles once exceeded that of Mozart.
Born in Valencia, Spain, in 1754, he landed positions in Naples in 1777, Venice in 1782, Vienna in 1785, and St. Petersburg in 1788, where he died in 1804 after a two-year visit to London. His most famous librettists were Catherine the Great and Lorenzo da Ponte, who composed the libretto for
, a pastoral cantata, written while Martín was in Vienna. Da Ponte at the time was composing librettos and revisions of librettos for at least seven other composers including Mozart, most of whose names have been swept into the proverbial dustbin of history. This does strongly suggest that it’s no contest: The music
more important than the words. As for Martín, one reason for his popularity was his simple, straightforward style, described by some contemporaries as “sweet” and “graceful.” His arias often resemble songs, and he was apparently a favorite of amateurs.
I wouldn’t say that that is the case with
La dora festiggiante
, written at the instigation of the Duke of Savoy to celebrate a visit to Turin by the Archduke Ferdinand of Hapsburg (brother of Joseph II of Austria) and his wife, Maria Beatrix, the viceroys of Lombardy and governors of Milan. The cantata, which runs just over a half hour, preceded the performance of an opera. The three singers represent Jupiter, Apollo, and Minerva, who have come down to earth to sing the praises of the visiting couple: their kindness, their wisdom, their virtue, etc. Perhaps the singers who were available were virtuosos, for much of the gods’ music is heavily ornamented and elaborate, definitely not for amateurs.
, on the other hand, takes place in the kind of innocent, Arcadian world that seems to suit Martín y Soler quite well. The nymph Egle comes upon her sister, Nice, sleeping in the forest and awakens her, interrupting a sweet dream about her lover, Fileno, who soon arrives on the scene. For some reason she is uncertain of his love, but he soon convinces her. Egle arrives with the good news that Nice and Fileno are to be engaged and their father has picked a fiancé for her, as well. There’s quite a lot of recitative and the musical solos and ensembles are in, mostly, a simple, song-like vein that fits in with the bare-bones plot.
Whether this piques your curiosity or not, I must say that RCOC has given this music an impressive production, with the two CDs fitting snugly into an attractive folding package that includes librettos and
, detailed annotations in
languages (Catalan, Spanish, Italian, English, French, and German). In addition, the singers are up to the technical challenges of
La dora festiggiante
as well as having attractive enough voices to bring off
. They also sing with conviction, as if they believed all this silly stuff. The orchestra observes the standard period practices and has been handsomely recorded.
FANFARE: James Miller
Works on This Recording
Average Customer Review: ( 1 Customer Review )
Idiotic note does not help to understand this wor October 1, 2017
By A. Fernando See All My Reviews
"This production is highly recommended. I'll sogno in particular can be considered a culmination of the Viennese Classicist period of a composer who was the crowed favorite of the time. Martín I Soler's style is full of inspiration and theatrical character. The melodic lines are pure and the orchestral treatment finds simple solutions resolved in the detail: little instrumental colour here, milimetric rhythmic changes when needed to ensure dramatic progressions. Please do not pay any attention to the idyotic note accompanying the entry in archivmusic. Read instead the excellent analysis provided in the booklet in the CD case."