Hyperion Records

Su le sponde del Tebro
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'Scarlatti & Hasse: Salve regina, Cantatas & Motets' (CDH55354)
Scarlatti & Hasse: Salve regina, Cantatas & Motets
Buy by post £5.50 CDH55354  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Sinfonia
Movement 2. Recitativo: Su le sponde del Tebro
Movement 3. Sinfonia – Aria: Contentatevi, o fidi pensieri
Movement 4. Recitativo: Mesto, stanco, e spirante dal duol' che l'opprimea
Movement 5. Largo: Infelici miei lumi
Movement 6. Aria: Dite almeno, astri crudeli
Movement 7. Recitativo: All' aura, al cielo, ai venti
Movement 8. Aria: Tralascia pur di piangere, povero afflitto cor

Su le sponde del Tebro
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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