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

More Recent Posts

  • Devon Sproule on Around This Town, Nov 1

    Devon Sproule will stop by WTJU this Tuesday evening, November 1, around 5:30 (edt) for a visit ahead of her concert just two days later at The Southern in Charlottesville (details).

  • Legendary Paddy Keenan stops by WTJU, Oct 29

    World renowned master of the Irish uilleann pipes, and founding member of the influential Bothy Band, Paddy Keenan will stop by WTJU this Saturday morning, October 29, around 11 (edt) for a visit ahead of his Blue Ridge Irish Music School concert later that evening at C’Ville Coffee (details).

  • New Blues & Soul News – 10/27/2016

    New Blues & Soul News – 10/26/2016 David Bromberg Band – The Blues, The Whole Blues and Nothing But The Blues (Red House): Singer/songwriter/guitarist David Bromberg has been releasing recordings since 1971 and he’s still going strong. His voice shows the road wear, but given his comedic and/or talking style, that doesn’t interfere with his […]

  • Eli Cook Joins the Juddermeister Thursday October 27

    Eli Cook joins the Juddermeister on Induced to Judder this Thursday to talk about his upcoming Jimi Hendrix tribute show:”Bold as Love.” Tune in at 9pm to hear Eli and the Juddermeister play some Hendrix classics and talk about his November 4th performance at the IX Art Park. Bold as Love will include medleys, extended jams, […]

  • The Way Things Go for O’Connor and Kampmeier

    For flutist Tara Helen O’Connor, “The Way Things Go” is a labor of love. As she explains in the liner notes, she and pianist Margaret Kampmeier have taken several years to record the selections on this release. Five of the works were commissioned by O’Connor,the rest were compositions by the duo’s favorite composers. Perhaps because […]

  • Gustav Helsted – Decet, post-romantic goodness

    Just how progressive was Danish composer Gustav Helsted? Well, he founded a musical society that was playing Bruckner and Mahler symphonies in 1896. And while he studied with Niels Gade, Helsted was vitally interested pushing beyond Gade’s concept of romanticism — as his heroes Bruckner and Mahler had. Helsted’s Decet, Op. 18 for flute, oboe, […]