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Steffani: Cante Da Camera / Quadro Asolano

Steffani / Quadro Asolano
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Newton Classics   Catalog #: 8802163   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Agostino Steffani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadro Asolano
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

Agostino Steffani (1654–1728) was one of the greatest composers of Italian vocal music between Monteverdi and Handel. Working mainly in Munich and Hanover, he wrote sacred works, operas and vocal chamber music. He raised the standing of opera in northern Europe, and by grafting the French style on to his native Italian stock created a musical language for the later Baroque. That Steffani’s output consists entirely of vocal works reflects his early musical education. Born at Castelfranco Veneto, he became a choirboy at the Basilica del Santo in Padua and at the age of 11 sang in opera in Venice. His experience as a singer and flair for languages explain his sensitivity to words and instinct for melody as a composer. Steffani is reliably Read more credited with only seven solo cantatas, dating probably from his Munich period. The two solo cantatas on this CD illustrate, among other things, the nature of the ‘aria cavata’, a short or informal aria based on a line or couplet of verse that was meant to be set as recitative. Of the chamber duets, Crudo Amor, morir mi sento (1698), is a consummate example of Steffani’s mature style, with opening and closing duets framing solos for each singer in turn. The duet movements are characterised by what one writer called ‘smoothly finished counterpoint…which even Handel could only imitate but not surpass’. Read less

Works on This Recording

Navicella che ten vai by Agostino Steffani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadro Asolano
Hai finito di lusingarmi by Agostino Steffani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadro Asolano
Period: Baroque 
Lagrime dolorose by Agostino Steffani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadro Asolano
Period: Baroque 
Forma un mare il pianto mio by Agostino Steffani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadro Asolano
Ho scherzato in verità by Agostino Steffani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadro Asolano
Crudo Amor, morir mi sento by Agostino Steffani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Quadro Asolano
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1698; Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Handel's inspiration? May 14, 2013 By Ralph Graves (Hood, VA) See All My Reviews "Agostino Steffani (1650-1723) was a master of Baroque vocal chamber music. This Italian composer spent most of his professional career in Germany, first in Munich then at the court of Hanover. He composed exclusively for the voice; sacred works, secular cantatas and operas. This recording features two of the solo cantatas and four of the vocal dues he wrote. <br /> <br /> Steffani's lyrical counterpoint was closely studied by a young Georg Frederick Handel. And that influence is easy to hear in these examples. Steffani's melodies have the same, straight-forward simplicity of Handel's. And the polyphonic passages are also a model of clarity. There's nothing fussy about Steffani's counterpoint, rather, it's all elegantly constructed. <br /> <br /> Based on the quality of Steffani's music, it's surprising he isn't more frequently performed or recorded. So Newton's release does a real service with these world premier recordings. The performances by the Quadro Asolano are generally good, although sometimes the soprano voices are a little weak. <br /> <br /> My only complaint is that Newton's program notes don't provide the libretti for the works. Steffani's music often illustrates or takes its character from the text its supporting. Without the libretti (or a fluency in Italian), Steffani's subtle gestures are lost on the listener." Report Abuse
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