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Hyperion Records

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Danae (detail) by Antonio Allegri Correggio (c1489-1534)
Galleria Borghese, Rome / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDA67621
Recording details: October 2006
Oratorio di S Domenico, Pisa, Italy
Produced by Sigrid Lee
Engineered by Roberto Meo
Release date: September 2008
Total duration: 11 minutes 34 seconds

'This outstanding disc not only displays unequivocal proof of Porpora's exceptional skill … but also provides some of the most genuinely enjoyable and captivating performances of eighteenth-century vocal music I have heard on disc for a very long time … these are brilliantly written recitatives, clearly, but with Fedi's clarity of diction and conviction of delivery, they are transformed into something truly exceptional. Yet to single out the recitatives, when the instrumental colouring of the arias and sinfonias is so magical, is to do a major disservice both to Porpora and to Auser Musici … here is music-making of such infectious happiness that this disc is destined to be a constant companion for the foreseeable future' (International Record Review)

'Soprano Elena Cecchi Fedi's singing is both beautiful and vocally deft, and the playing of the Italian group Auser Musici is emotionally responsive and dramatically alert to match. The opening cantata, Or sì m'avveggio, oh Amore, with its rocketing cello obligato, is particularly fine' (The Irish Times)

Or sì m'avveggio, oh Amore
composer
author of text

Or sì m’avveggio, oh Amore, whose forces include a concertante cello for the only time in Porpora’s cantatas, has survived only because it is contained in a volume from the private collection of the London musician Benjamin Cooke (the younger), whose books were transferred in 1883 from the library of the Sacred Harmonic Society to constitute a substantial part of the collections of the newly founded Royal College of Music. How the piece came into Cooke’s hands has still to be established, even though the use he made of it is obvious enough: well known at the time as an excellent teacher, he adapted it as a tool for his pupils to study continuo. The voracious but selective curiosity of this late-eighteenth-century collector must have had no difficulty in finding compositions by Porpora on the market even years after he left England: works by the Neapolitan composer were still circulating and arousing the interest of British musicians (and would long continue to do so), and we know that precious manuscript copies passed through the hands of such personalities as William Savage, Richard Stevens and William Robinson. However, there is nothing to show that Or sì m’avveggio, oh Amore was actually written in England. Stylistic analysis does not yield any elements that can help us to date it very precisely: we can do no more than assert that this cantata broadly corresponds to traits shown by the composer during his years in Naples in the 1720s and his London period of the mid-1730s, although it certainly dates from a few years before the publication of the Nuovamente composte opre di musica vocale (1735).

from notes by Stefano Aresi © 2008
English: Charles Johnston

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