Music for Francesco II D’Este

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Francesco II d’Este ruled over his duchy from 1674 to 1694, two decades that proved to be of exceptional importance for the history of music in Modena.

Artists: Modena Barocca, Sofia Pezzi (soprano), Ettore Agati (counter tenor) & Giovanni Paganelli (direction)

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Between 1674 and 1694 the duchy of Modena was ruled by the music-loving Francesco II d’Este: a period of rule that attracted musicians and singers from across northern Italy and farther afield. The music of the chapel was supervised by the duke himself and he established a network of contact with the finest native musicians such as Corelli. Vitali and Domenico Gabrielli both moved to Modena permanently, while the best-known Giovanni Bononcini, member of a formidable musical clan, began his career there and then performed for the grandest courts across Europe.

Countless volumes of chamber, instrumental and vocal music were dedicated to the duke thanks to his generous patronage. This recording project has drawn on the remarkably rich resources of the duke’s own music library, and its unique collection of manuscripts affording the opportunity to make several world-premiere recordings of music that has probably lain unheard since the late 17th-century. A case in point is the cantata composed by Vitali to mark the duke’s birthday, Sopra la nascita. Now much less familiar a name, Giuseppe Colombi wrote with an audaciously personal style, as the cantata Di Lidia al sen vezzoso reveals. Even more expressively striking is the cantata composed by Bononcini on the subject of the death of Cleopatra, and Gabrielli’s cantata Amore m’hai così avinto is an absorbing exploration of sexual jealousy.

Interspersed with these cantatas are sonatas and dances by Vitali and Bononcini which radiate brio and rhythmic verve, and the album concludes with another jealousy-themed duet by an unfamiliar name, Pietro Nicolò Sorosina (c. 1645-1732). The project came to life from an invitation on the part of the Grandezze e Meraviglie festival in Modena, and it is performed according to the highest standards of modern period-instrument practice by the festival’s house ensemble and led by the local early-music maestro Giovanni Paganelli, born in Modena in 1992.


Giovanni Battista Vitali:

Sonata No. 1:
00:00 I. Largo
01:36 II. Allegro
02:52 III. —
04:08 IV. —
04:44 V. —

Coronata d’applausi:
05:51 I. Recitativo coronata d’applausi
06:27 II. Aria per freggiare un sol che nasce
07:39 III. Recitativo doppo lieve contesa
08:17 IV. Aria sì bel giorno più splendido e adorno
09:09 V. Recitativo già l’Invidia e la sorte
09:32 VI. Aria godan gl’astri e rida il sole
10:40 VII. Recitativo sì disse e fe’ ritorno

Giuseppe Colombi:
11:10 Ciaccona in F Major
14:00 Di Lidia al sen vezzoso
15:53 Giga La cimicella
17:08 Sarabanda

Cleopatra Moribonda:
17:48 I. Recitativo per non calcar di Roma
19:04 II. Aria allegro che mi giova di fortuna
20:58 III. Recitativo di diane, di febi
22:31 IV. Aria vivo ma che pensi, fortuna crudele
23:51 V. Recitativo schiava non mi vedrai
24:51 VI. Aria vivace non trarrò già scalzo il piè
26:07 VII. Recitativo sì, che morrò da forte
27:49 VIII. Aria vago oh, dell’aspe che ’l seno m’ancide
29:48 IX. Recitativo ma già con piè veloce

Domenico Gabrielli:
Amor m’hai così avinto:
31:53 I. Recitativo amor, m’hai così avinto
32:51 II. Aria andante se a guardar bellezze amabili
34:24 III. Recitativo ma, almen s’altro non posso
34:57 IV. Aria allegro amanti, quel volto
36:05 V. Recitativo ah, che se alcun vedessi

Giovanni Bononcini:
Il nume d’amore:
37:11 I. Aria adagio il nume d’amore
41:37 II. Recitativo han sì veloce moto le saette
42:41 III. Aria vivace dunque amor le sue facelle
44:57 IV. Recitativo sarò sempre costante
45:22 V. Vivace e a battuta che lusinga e inganna/che consola e diletta e l’alma e il core

48:14 Pietro Nicolò Sorosina: Gelosia invidiosa

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