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Mission / Cecilia Bartoli, Diego Fasolis, I Barocchisti [2 LPs]


Release Date: 01/08/2013 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001744801  
Composer:  Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia BartoliRosario ContePhilippe Jaroussky
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I BarocchistiSwiss Radio Chorus
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Cecilia Bartoli continues her archaeological activities, digging out forgotten music by forgotten composers. Once again she enters centre-stage with a well-filled basket where sparkling jewels lie side by side with opaque but immensely beautiful pearls.

Agostino Steffani was ‘a man of many missions’: singer, musician, composer, diplomat, politician and also a learned man with a large library and an art collection. Though by some scholars regarded as the foremost Italian composer between Monteverdi and Vivaldi, his music has been largely neglected. Some of his works have been recorded and of late his opera Niobe, regina di Tebe has been performed in several places. Cecilia Bartoli’s albums tend to be best-sellers so it seems
Read more that there is a Steffani renaissance on the way. No fewer than 21 of the numbers here are world premiere recordings on CD so this disc is a goldmine not least for those collectors who already have ‘everything’.

The album launches with a flying start, orchestrally and vocally. The aria from Alarico il Baltha is a virtuoso piece with blaring trumpets, punchy percussion and coloratura fireworks. On the whole Steffani’s handling of orchestral colours is masterly. In the first aria from Tassilone (tr. 4) he employs castanets. The call-to-arms in Il trionfi del fato (tr. 7) with trumpets, percussion and chorus is riveting and in another war song, this time from La lotta d’Hercole con Acheloo (tr. 17) he even incorporates firearms.

The dramatic and virtuoso numbers are only one side of Steffani’s art. Many arias are intimate and restrained. The beautiful love song Amami, e vedrai from Niobe, regina di Tebe (tr. 5) is accompanied by a sole lute and time and again one marvels at the melodies and the inventiveness of the composer. Possibly the most beautiful aria of all is the one from Henrico Leone (tr. 24) but the next minute I feel that Dell’alma stanca a raddoleir le tempre from Niobe is just as good.

Those unfamiliar with Steffani will probably fall in love from the very first track and then there is not one weak number. The playing of I Barocchisti is absolutely stupendous, the chorus is first class and by now most reviewers have run out of superlatives concerning Cecilia Bartoli’s singing. As a bonus she has invited that marvellous counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky for four duets and the two voices blend admirably. As usual the production values are superb: A hardback 174-page book with copious background material in four languages, complete texts, lots of photos and other illustrations and a playing time of 80+ minutes. The recorded sound is ideal – in short: everything is as perfect as anything can be!

- Göran Forsling, MusicWeb Internatioanl Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Alarico il Baltha: Schiere invitte, non tardate by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1687 
2. Servio Tullio: Ogni core può sperar by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1686 
3. Niobe, regina di Tebe: Ove son? Chi m’aita? In mezzo all’ombre...Dal mio petto by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688 
4. Tassilone: Più non v’ascondo by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1709 
5. Niobe, regina di Tebe: Amami, e vederai by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano), Rosario Conte (Lute)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688 
6. Niobe, regina di Tebe: T’abbraccio, mia Diva…Ti stringo, mio Nume by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688 
7. I trionfi del fato: Mie fide schiere, all’armi! by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1695 
8. Arminio: Suoni, tuoni, il suolo scuota by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1707 
9. Tassilone: Sposa, mancar mi sento…Deh non far colle tue lagrime by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1709 
10. La superbia d'Alessandro: Non prendo consiglio by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1690 
11. Alarico il Baltha: Sì, sì, riposa, o caro…Palpitanti sfere belle by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1687 
12. La libertà contenta: Notte amica al cieco Dio by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1693 
13. I trionfi del fato: Combatton quest’alma by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1695 
14. Tassilone: A facile vittoria by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1709; Düsseldorf, Germany 
15. La superbia d'Alessandro: Tra le guerre e le vittorie by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Radio Chorus,  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1690 
16. La libertà contenta: Foschi crepuscoli by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1693 
17. Niobe, regina di Tebe: Dell’alma stanca a raddolcir le tempre…Sfere amiche, or date al labbro by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688 
18. La lotta d'Hercole con Acheloo: La cerasta più terribile by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1689 
19. Niobe, regina di Tebe: Serena, o mio bel sole…Mia fiamma…Mio ardore by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1688 
20. Tassilone: Dal tuo labbro amor m’invita by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1709 
21. La libertà contenta: Deh stancati, o sorte by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1693 
22. La libertà contenta: Svenati, struggiti, combatti, suda by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1693 
23. Tassilone: Padre, s’è colpa in lui by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1709 
24. Le rivali concordi: Timori, ruine by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Radio Chorus,  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1692 
25. Henrico Leone: Morirò fra strazi e scempi by Agostino Steffani
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1689 
26. Marco Aurelio: Non si parli che di fede by Agostino Steffani
Conductor:  Diego Fasolis
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Swiss Radio Chorus,  I Barocchisti
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1681 

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