Alessandro Stradella led a particularly colourful life worthy of a sumptuous Hollywood costume drama. Born in Nepi in around 1639, he had become a successful composer in Rome by the time he was 20 years old. Among his more adventurous day-to-day pursuits were his attempt to embezzle money from the Catholic Church, his affairs with the wives and mistresses of important members of the aristocracy, and his occasional need to flee cities in order to escape his would-be aggressors. Unbelievably, Stradella still found time to write more than 300 compositions including operas, oratorios, instrumental music and chamber works.
This special collection brings together the vocal duets of this audacious and prolific composer. The duets – each of which is difficult to pinpoint in the chronology of Stradella’s output – are written for varying pairs of voices, sometimes at the same pitch and sometimes at differing pitches. Rather than adopting a hard and fast rule for the composition of the works, Stradella has let the text govern the manner in which the vocal lines are played out, and many of the works include imitation between the two voices (Si, quella tu sei che il mio cor sempre adorò is unique in that it presents a dialogue between the two characters). Also featuring Trionfate, invitti colli, the trio for two sopranos and bass, the collection brings together esteemed singers Susanne Rydén, Emma Kirkby, Sergio Foresti, Christine Marsoner and Alessio Tosi interpret the repertoire in varying combinations. The instrumentalists are the acclaimed early ensemble Harmonices Mundi, directed by Claudio Astronio.
- Recorded 2013.
- Two Early Music Divas in Duets by Stradella: Emma Kirkby and Susanne Rydén!
- The music by Alessandro Stradella is gaining rapidly in recognition and popularity. The composer’s extremely adventurous life (he was a lady-killer, who himself was murdered in the end by a revengeful rival) and his equally adventurous music presents a forceful image of a fascinating and important figure of the Italian Baroque.
- Kirkby and Rydén sing duets on secular texts, mini cantatas dealing with the eternal topics of love, sorrow, bliss and betrayal.
- Baroque specialist Claudio Astronio leads his own ensemble Harmonices Mundi, playing on original instruments.
- Contains notes on the composer and about the historical violone and transcriptions used for the recording.