Hyperion Records

O di Betlemme altera
1695; Christmas Cantata
author of text

'Scarlatti & Hasse: Salve regina, Cantatas & Motets' (CDH55354)
Scarlatti & Hasse: Salve regina, Cantatas & Motets
MP3 £4.99FLAC £4.99ALAC £4.99Buy by post £5.50 CDH55354  Helios (Hyperion's budget label)  
Movement 1: Introduzione
Track 23 on CDH55354 [1'56] Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
Movement 2. Recitativo: O di Betlemme altera povertà venturosa!
Movement 3. Aria: Dal ben seno d'una stella
Movement 4. Recitativo: Presa d'uomo la forma, alle gelide tempre
Movement 5. Aria: L'autor d'ogni mio bene
Movement 6. Recitativo: Fortunati pastori giacchè v'è dato in sorte
Movement 7. Aria: Tocco la prima sorte a voi, pastori

O di Betlemme altera
Alessandro Scarlatti’s fine Christmas cantata O di Betlemme altera may have been the result of a commission from an Italian noble, for there seems to have been a tradition, led by the Pope, of ecclesiastical households commissioning ‘a virtuous entertainment in music … a cantata in Italian about the Nativity of the Child Jesus’. This work would have been performed as a prelude to ‘a most abundant supper’, which was served between first Vespers of the Nativity and Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. Scarlatti’s graceful cantata starts in traditional form with an elegant Introduzione whose second section introduces pastoral, Christmas bagpipe drones, much in the style of Corelli’s Christmas Concerto, the ‘pifa’ of Handel’s Messiah and Part 2 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio. After an introductory recitative comes a jaunty aria, ‘Dal bel seno’, full of opportunities on its da capo for the soloist to show her skill at ornamentation. The second aria, ‘L’autor d’ogni mio bene’, is glorious, with solo violin and viola accompanied by ‘Violoncello e Leuto’ (playing in an especially high tessitura) providing a shimmering, atmospheric accompaniment to a delicious melody. The final movement completes the delightfully pastoral scene, with a lilting melody accompanied by orchestral drones. Here is one of the most charming of all baroque representations of the shepherds at the manger, worshipping the little baby Jesus.

from notes by Robert King © 1996

Track-specific metadata
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Details for CDH55354 track 23
Movement 1: Introduzione
Recording date
9 February 1996
Recording venue
St Jude-on-the-Hill, Hampstead Garden Suburb, London, United Kingdom
Recording producer
Ben Turner
Recording engineer
Philip Hobbs
Hyperion usage
  1. Scarlatti & Hasse: Salve regina, Cantatas & Motets (CDA66875)
    Disc 1 Track 23
    Release date: September 1996
    Deletion date: April 2008
    Superseded by CDH55354
  2. Scarlatti & Hasse: Salve regina, Cantatas & Motets (CDH55354)
    Disc 1 Track 23
    Release date: January 2011
    Helios (Hyperion's budget label)
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