Ondanks de vorderingen op musicologisch terrein en het spit- en graafwerk in de archieven zijn we nog niet aan de top van de ijsberg aanbeland en mogen we ook in de komende jaren nog her ontdekkingen verwachten die in muzikaal opzicht echt iets te betekenen hebben. Of wat dacht u van de in concerti en triosonates grossierende Jan Zelenka ? Best aardig is ook Le devin du village van Jean-Jaques Rosseau Antonio Caldara ca. En wat je niet vaak ziet gebeurde hier wel degelijk: uitvoering en opname mochten in alle gevallen gezien worden, al scoort Harmonia Mundi in Maddelena ai piedi Cristo in alle opzichten het hoogst ook wat de bijgeleverde teksten betreft.

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The performances took place in oratories prayer halls constructed above church naves and were intended to be attractive but edifying entertainments. Then as later, oratorios generally reflected the popular forms and styles of secular music — and in late Renaissance and Baroque Italy, this meant opera, though based on religious rather than mythological and heroic themes. The most prolific composer in this genre was Antonio Caldara c ; New Grove lists 43 oratorios in addition to many operas and there are probably more that have been lost, written for patrons in his native Venice, Rome, Florence, Mantua, and Vienna.

Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo Magdalene at the Feet of Christ was probably written around in Rome. The tight and cohesive libretto by Lodovici Forni also used by Bononcini in is based on Luke , with the addition of Martha from John and For dramatic purposes, Forni introduced the figures of Celestial and Earthly Love representing good and evil in combat for the soul of Maddalena, whose irresolution and anguish — not reflected in the spare Biblical narrative — are movingly depicted.

The music is conventional for its time. All arias are in da capo form, some small-scale and intimate and scored for continuo only, others expanded and using larger orchestral forces, more flamboyant and operatic in nature.

There are only three concerted arias, all duets for Earthly and Celestial Love, and relationships among the characters are explored only in the recitatives, with the arias reflecting a variety of moods and emotions.

The instrumental writing is consistently imaginative and expressive, and many of the arias, especially those of Maddalena in the course of her renunciation of worldly pleasures in favor of Jesus, are full of feeling and exceptionally beautiful.

Bernarda Fink opens and closes the piece with force and beauty, and her final aria is a brilliant and hell-raising act of defiance; Rosa Dominguez is equally effective as Martha. The sound is excellent. This is unfamiliar music that is too beautiful to be neglected, and these discs are very welcome. All Rights Reserved.


Maddalena ai Piedi di Cristo



Lilianna Stawarz


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