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Hyperion Records

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Christ sinking under the weight of the cross by Paolo Caliari Veronese (1528-1588)
Lauros-Giraudon / Bridgeman Art Library, London
Track(s) taken from CDH55354
Recording details: February 1996
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Produced by Ben Turner
Engineered by Philip Hobbs
Release date: September 1996
Total duration: 15 minutes 21 seconds

'Congratulations to Hyperion on imaginative programming of repertoire, some not otherwise available on disc. Highly recommended … for repeated enjoyable listening' (BBC Music Magazine)

'The recording is exemplary. If you want an introduction to vocal writing in compact forms in early 18th-century Italy, this is ideal' (American Record Guide)

'Una de las mejores elecciones de musica barroca que haya escuchado este año. Por supuesto que lo recomiendo vivamente' (CD Compact, Spain)

Su le sponde del Tebro
author of text

Introduction  EnglishFrançaisDeutsch
Though nowadays the cantata is considered to be a genre second in refinement to opera, during the eighteenth century it was generally regarded as the supreme challenge for a composer’s artistry. With more than six hundred known cantatas for which Alessandro Scarlatti’s authorship is fairly certain, and well over a hundred others of more dubious origins sometimes attributed to him, Scarlatti (if not actually intending to demonstrate the required artistry by sheer volume of composition) certainly established himself as by far the most prolific composer of cantatas of his era.

The majority of Scarlatti’s cantatas are for solo voice, usually with only continuo for accompaniment. However, contemporary trends increasingly moved towards the addition of instrumental accompaniments, and around sixty of Scarlatti’s cantatas use extra instruments. Usually that instrumental backing is of strings, but occasionally his works also require recorders or trumpets. Su le sponde del Tebro contains a particularly demanding part for obbligato trumpet, playing in a high tessitura which suggests that there was a fine player around with the considerable stamina required to play the arias which partner soprano with trumpet. The story is the classically despondent one of unrequited love, and the form the usual alternation of arias and recitatives prefaced by a short sinfonia. The arias with trumpet are steadfast in their sentiments, and there is a brave (and partly successful) attempt to make the ground bass at ‘Dite almeno’ interesting, but it is the dissonances of the meltingly beautiful aria ‘Infelici miei lumi’ which show Scarlatti at his finest.

from notes by Robert King © 1996

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