Composed at a time when neither oratorio nor opera existed, Emilio de' Cavalieri's musical drama Rappresentatione di anima et di corpo combines song, stage action, dance, and instrumental music in perfect harmony. The work's libretto, attributed to Agostino Manni, presents a musical morality play in which soul and body dispute, with the participation of other allegorical characters and angels and souls both in heaven and hell. On this new recording, maestro Rene Jacobs illuminates this key work, which was written at the dawn of the Baroque revolution.
"…If you retain a place in your heart for this work, do try this performance. Its many ravishing moments easily win over the shortcomings." ~Grammophone
Now attributed to Pergolesi on the basis of recent research, the ‘Seven Words of Christ’ has been regarded as ‘one of the most heartfelt works of art, full of profound tenderness and an all-conquering sense of beauty’ [Hermann Scherchen, on its discovery in 1930]. However, his judgment has remained unheeded and only the discovery of two more manuscripts in the abbeys of Kremsmünster and Aldersbach, by the musicologist Reinhard Fehling, prompted the firm of Breitkopf & Härtel to publish a critical edition…
Renowned for his work in Baroque vocal music, René Jacobs is most frequently credited as a countertenor and as a choral director. He is somewhat less familiar as a conductor of Classical symphonic music, though he has increasingly delved into this repertoire in recordings with one of Europe's best early music groups, the Freiburger Barockorchester. This 2007 release from Harmonia Mundi features Jacobs and the orchestra in bright and finely detailed performances of two of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's late symphonies, the Symphony No. 38 in D major, K. 504, "Prague," and the Symphony No. 41 in C major, K. 551, "Jupiter."
It has haunted René Jacobs since childhood: first as a boy soprano in Ghent, then as a countertenor, he has constantly frequented the supreme masterpiece that is the 'St Matthew Passion'. Jacobs uses the layout of the Good Friday Vesper service from Bach's time, with choirs front and back, rather than side-by-side. He also gives us extra soloists to complete the bi-choral effect. For Bach, the two halves were 28 metres apart. At that distance, coordination difficulties begin to appear between the speed of light, and the speed of sound, and we cannot determine how Bach dealt with this problem. However the wonders of SACD multichannel surround sound can at last give an impression of what Bach intended for St Thomas’ Church in Leipzig.
Francesco Cavalli (14 February 1602 – 14 January 1676) was an Italian composer of the early Baroque period. His real name was Pietro Francesco Caletti-Bruni, but he is better known by that of Cavalli, the name of his patron Federico Cavalli, a Venetian nobleman.
Cavalli was born at Crema, Lombardy. He became a singer at St Mark's Basilica in Venice in 1616, second organist in 1639, first organist in 1665, and in 1668 maestro di cappella. He is chiefly remembered for his operas. He began to write for the stage in 1639 (Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo) soon after the first public opera house opened in Venice, the Teatro San Cassiano. He established so great a reputation that he was summoned to Paris from 1660 (he revived his opera Xerse) until 1662, producing his Ercole amante. He died in Venice at the age of 73.
Carl Heinrich Graun was court composer to Frederick the Great of Prussia, and this opera was chosen to open the new opera house in Berlin in 1742. It was a great success, but Handel's opera on the same subject had appeared less than two decades before, and had anyone been familiar with that one, Graun's might have come as a disappointment. Handel gets under his characters' skins–Cleopatra's eight arias tell us everything we have to know about her, for instance–while Graun (merely) offers some beautiful, well-orchestrated, at-times exciting music. Any composer would have been proud to compose Cesare's heart-stoppingly vengeful last-act aria "Voglio strage", and any Read more mezzo (or castrato or countertenor) would be happy to sing it. Here, Iris Vermillion is spectacular, and elsewhere in the opera she's as heroic, romantic, and colorful as our hero ought to be… Robert Levine
‘Jacobs has found the means of marrying intense religious fervour with highly ”personalised” expression. (…) The instrumental ensemble provides a commentary of indescribable poetry. (…) The coupling is also exceptionally interesting, with the jubilation of Heut triumphieret Gottes Sohn forming a superb contrast with the meditations of Membra Jesu nostri and offering an apotheosis in its concluding Alleluia.'
Le Monde de la Musique