Agostino Steffani – Danze e Ouvertures
Coro della Radiotelevisione svizzera
Diego Fasolis, conductor
Composer, clergyman and diplomat Agostino Steffani has been forgotten for a long time, at least until Cecilia Bartoli re-discovered him in her album Mission and his large contribution to the development of opera in Northern Germany came to light again. Steffani is best remembered for his duets with continuo, written since 1702, which can be considered as good as those composed by Alessandro Stradella, Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti and by the young Händel. The fact that his attention had been brought from its first studies to vocal music recalls how at the time singing was the privileged way to express feelings, prerogative that later will be applied to instrumental music.
Danze e ouvertures is not the only recording dedicated to Steffani that conductor Diego Fasolis recorded. Apart from Bartoli’s Mission, Fasolis conducted also the recording of Stabat Mater, featuring Bartoli and Fagioli. The present album is a recording that any baroque music lover will find amazing as it offers some wonderful compositions, many of them lively and animated, as in the case of Niobe, Regina di Tebe, an opera composed for the Carnival of 1688. Incidentally, Niobe received its modern premiere precisely in the present recording, but the complete opera was recorded twice after the release of Danze e ouvertures. There are also pieces less emphatic, anyway, and capable of expressing a sense of melancholy as only Baroque music can do, such as the Introduzione al dramma from Amor vien dal destino, and others where the atmosphere is arcane, such as Les ombres. Grave in I trionfi del fato.
The music of this album is taken from thirteen works written by Steffani, so that it is impossible to mention each one of them. I will just mention three among the most significant titles: Servio Tullio, performed for the first time in 1686 on the occasion of the marriage of Bavarian elector with the Austrian Archduchess Maria Antonia, Henrico Leone and Tassilone, the latter related to episodes of German history and represent an exception to the usual use of classical themes as plot for the operas and that.