The oratorio was a genre that flourished in Modena during the late 17th century – a fact largely due to the many commissions that came from the local ruler, Francesco II of Este. Born in 1639, Alessandro Stradella is one of many composers to have participated in the new wave of creativity; La Susanna, the subject of this new release, was written in 1681 and dedicated to the art-loving Duke.
Sacred music dramas of the 17th century usually took their plots from the Bible, the Apocrypha or the lives of Saints – and Stradella’s is no exception. Based on Chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel and including all the ingredients of a detective story, it is a compelling tale concerning the beautiful Susanna who – married and virtuous – refuses to submit to the advances of two elderly judges. In seeking revenge, the men use their power to charge her with adultery – the result being that she is condemned to death. Standing guard, however, is the wise prophet Daniel, who pleads for the case to be reopened as Susanna is led to her execution; with the truth finally exposed, the noblewoman’s honour is restored and the two dignitaries are killed in her place.
Full of witty innuendo, yet detailing an important moral message concerning the perils of unrestrained lust, La Susanna was to be Stradella’s final work. This recording sees the oratorio performed with passion and commitment under the assured direction of Claudio Astronio.
- New live recording, made August 2011 in Bolzano, Italy.
- The revival of that most original and fascinating Baroque composer Alessandro Stradella on Brilliant Classics continues with the issue of his substantial Oratorio La Susanna.
- A powerful and passionate HIP (historically informed performance) recording by Italian forces, among whom the great Gemma Bertagnolli and Martin Oro. Harmonices Mundi conducted by Claudio Astronio offers the same high quality and commitment as in their earlier recording of Stradella Italian Duets (BC 94258).
- Harmonices Mundi and Claudio Astronio have previously recorded Stradella’s Italian Arias, also released on Brilliant Classics (BC 94258).
- Includes booklet notes about the music and the composer.
- Sung texts available by clicking on 'Download Booklet' below the cover.