San Giovanni Battista

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ALESSANDRO STRADELLA
San Giovanni Battista
Anke Herrmann, Martin Oro, Antonio Abete, Fredrik Akselberg, Elena Cecchi Fedi / Academia Montis Regalis, Alessandro De Marchi

[ Hyperion / CD ]

Release Date: Monday 31 December 2007

This item is currently out of stock. We expect to be able to supply it to you within 2 - 4 weeks from when you place your order.

The oratorio San Giovanni Battista was written for performance on Palm Sunday in the Holy Year of 1675 where some fourteen oratorios were commissioned by the confraternity of the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome - an auspicious event. San Giovanni Battista is a deeply 'Baroque' score, vibrant, rhythmically insistent, requiring singers to perform phrases of difficult fiorituras or deeply moving legato lines. The libretto is dramatic and emotionally vivid, and the music is closely tied to the text, creating a distinctly operatic atmosphere-described by the disc's conductor Alessandro De Marchi as 'a true Salome'.

"Stradella's San Giovanni Battista, composed for the church of San Giovanni dei Fiorentini in Rome in 1675, is an oratorio that verges on opera. As well as the familiar characters of John the Baptist, Salome, Herod and Herodias, there is an unnamed Counsellor: combined, they form a five-part chorus. The rich string accompaniment is made up of a concertino and a concertogrosso, which play both separately and together.
Alessandro de Marchi makes the most of these forces by inserting short instrumental pieces by two contemporary composers at appropriate points in the story.
The music is delightfully varied, and the performers do it full justice. Martín Oro makes a rich-toned John the Baptist. The action begins with John bidding farewell to pastoral delights with a continuo aria; then, as he leaves to make a nuisance of himself at Herod's court, he embarks on a nautical metaphor aria - winds, sea, billows - with roulades that Oro dispatches with virtuoso precision.
In many of the arias, the instruments accompany the voice rather than simply providing a ritornello. When Herod condemns John to prison, the concerto grosso plays in the first section, the concertino in the second. Antonio Abete rages impressively, his solid bass showing an admirable fleetness. Anke Herrmann's Salome is seductive and wheedling by turns. This is an excellent disc."
(Gramophone Classical Music Guide