Alessandro Stradella: Composer and Cad

Few composers had as colorful history as Alessandro Stradella. He took part in a scheme to embezzle money from the Catholic Church and had to flee Rome. He was an inveterate womanizer, causing not one but two families to take out a contract on him (as he hastily left town). The first group of assassins failed, the second group succeeded. It’s important to remember, though, that during his lifetime Stradella was as famous for his music as he was infamous for his deeds. And this recording helps the listener understand why.

Stradella was a professional opera singer, which informed his writing for the voice. This collection features three of his solo cantatas along with a concert aria and a duet. Stradella’s melodies are supple, fluid things that move gracefully with the text.

Il Complesso Barocco Di Milano performs with refreshing directness and clarity. While singers of Stradella’s time might have more heavily ornamented his melodies, this ensemble chooses to let the music come through with minimal interference. The sound is a little soft and details are somewhat muted (I suspect this is a vintage analog recording).

One major drawback — no librettos are included. Stradella’s music is so closely intertwined with the text that this is a real minus, as it prevents the listener from fully appreciating Stradella’s artistry. And why he was so eagerly sought after by more than just angry husbands.

Alessandro Stradella: Cantate Ed Avie
Complesso Barocco Di Milano
Newton

More Recent Posts

  • jazz adds april 22, 2015

    cassandra wilson.  coming forth by day.  sony legacy.  Spectacular.   the jazz whisperer is back in a groove that suits her mysterious voice and contemplative delivery.  once again, we have a billie holiday homage but there the similarity to other  holiday tributes ends.  wilson, working with nick cave’s longtime producer nick launay, has inverted the […]

  • Ferdinand Ries Violin Sonatas – Elegant and refined

    Ferdinand Ries was many things to Beethoven; student, assistant, copyist, colleague, champion. He was a virtuoso pianist went on to have a successful career both as a performer and as a composer. Reis’ 18 sonatas for violin and piano were mostly composed between 1807-1809, while he was living in Paris. And perhaps for that reason, […]

  • New Blues News – 4/21/2015

    New Blues News – 4/21/2015 New Blues Adds: Paul Benjaman Band – Something (Horton): This disc is a mix of country and country rock in a lighter musical style than the frequent harder country rock often promoted. The more uptempo songs have more elaborate arrangements and tha tballads are fairly stripped down and focus on […]

  • The Most Beautiful Opera Houses in the World

    For those of us who love opera, the experience of what we hear and see on the stage is only part of the pleasure we derive from the experience. Opera houses are far more than simply a venue for the performance. Almost from the birth of the art form in about 1600, opera houses have represented […]

  • WTJU Presents Stephane Wrembel at The Southern, April 25

    WTJU is delighted to present guitarist Stephane Wrembel and his band this Saturday night, April 25, at The Southern Cafe & Music Hall in Charlottesville.  Stephane and the band will first stop by WTJU for a visit that afternoon at 4. Rolling Stone Magazine has called him “a revelation”. Woody Allen recruited him to score […]

  • Apr 25 Gather ‘Round: Tim O’Brien (2005)

    Gather ‘Round each Saturday night from 8-9 for WTJU Folk‘s concert series; both archived and live. There will be shows from The Prism Coffeehouse and VA Folklife archives mixed in with some from our announcers’ own libraries. And you never know when a live concert might pop up! This week’s program, which happens to fall […]