Antonio Caldara, c. 1670-1736

Caldara-1

Selected Recordings

Trio Sonata in E minor

Cello Sonata in A Minor

Sinfonia No.6 in G minor

Selected Sheet Music

Vola il tempo
Caldara-2

Source: IMSLP.org

Showcase Piece

Gioseffo Aria: Libertà cara e gradita

Notes and Commentary

Antonio Caldara was an Italian Baroque composer mostly known for operas, cantatas, and oratorios. Several of his works have libretti by Metastasio. He was born in Venice, the son of a violinist. He became a chorister at St Mark’s in Venice, where he learned several instruments, probably under the instruction of Giovanni Legrenzi. In 1699 he relocated to Mantua, where he became maestro di cappella to the inept Charles IV, Duke of Mantua, a pensionary of France with a French wife, who took the French side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Caldara removed from Mantua in 1707, after the French were expelled from Italy, then moved on to Barcelona as chamber composer to Charles VI of Austria, the pretender to the Spanish throne who kept a royal court at Barcelona. There, he wrote some operas that are the first Italian operas performed in Spain. He moved on to Rome, becoming maestro di cappella to Francesco Maria Marescotti Ruspoli, 1st Prince of Cerveteri. While there he wrote in 1710 La costanza in amor vince l’inganno (Faithfulness in Love Defeats Treachery) for the public theatre at Macerata. In 1716, he obtained a similar post in Vienna to serve the Imperial Court, and there he remained until his death. He lived from 1670 to December 28, 1736.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Antonio Caldara: Essays on His Life and Times
Scolar Pr, 1987
Brian W. Pritchard (ed.)
Limited availability

Caldara-6

Antonio Caldara. Life and Venetian-Roman Oratorios
Olschiki, 2007
Ursula Kirkendale
$75 on Amazon

Caldara-7

Selected Music

Caldara-3 Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo (1996), 2-CD set

Caldara-4 Trio Sonatas – Cello Sonatas (2002), 1 CD

Caldara-5 Cantate, Sonate ed Arie (2005), 1 CD

More Antonio Caldara music

Complete Works

Note: The following is a partial list of Caldara’s works. Access a more complete list.

Oratorios
Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo
Santo Stefano, primo Re d’Ungheria
La Conversione di Clodoveo Re di Francia
La passione di Gesù Cristo
Il Re del dolore
Stabat Mater

Others
“Sebben, crudele” (Aria from La costanza in amor vince l’inganno)
L’Olimpiade
D’improvviso
“Alma del core” (Aria)
“Selve amiche” (Aria)
Missa Dolorosa
Crucifixus

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Baroque Composer by Genre or Instrument: Opera

Jacopo Peri, 1561-1633
Claudio Monteverdi, 1567-1643
Francesco Cavalli, 1602-1676
Antonio Bertali, 1605-1669
Jean Baptiste Lully, 1632-1687
Henry Purcell, 1659-1695
Alessandro Scarlatti, 1660-1725
Antonio Caldara, 1670-1736
Jean Philippe Rameau, 1683-1764
George Frideric Handel, 1685-1759
Nicola Porpora, 1686-1768
Johann Adolph Hasse, 1699-1783
Baldassare Galuppi, 1706-1785
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, 1710-1736

* * *

Other instruments or genre:
Violin
Viol or cello
Harpsichord
Lute
Flute
Organ
Other vocal music

* * *

By nationality:
English
French
German

Italian
Other European

* * *

Women Baroque Composers

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Jacopo Peri, 1561-1633

Peri

Selected Recordings

Tu dormi e’l dolce sonno

Al canto, al ballo, all’ombra

Dunque fra torbide onde (madrigale)

Selected Sheet Music

“Nel puro ardor” from Euridice

Euridice

Source: CPDL.org

Showcase Piece

L’Euridice (complete version)

Notes and Commentary

Jacopo Peri was an Italian composer and singer of the transitional period between the Renaissance and Baroque styles, and is often called the inventor of opera. He wrote the first work to be called an opera today, Dafne (around 1597), and also the first opera to have survived to the present day, Euridice (1600). In the 1590s, Peri became associated with Jacopo Corsi, the leading patron of music in Florence. The two of them believed contemporary art was inferior to classical Greek and Roman works, and attempted to recreate Greek tragedy, as they understood it. Their work added to that of the Florentine Camerata of the previous decade, which produced the first experiments in monody, the solo song style over continuo bass which eventually developed into recitative and aria.

Peri and Corsi brought in the poet Ottavio Rinuccini to write a text, and the result, Dafne, though nowadays thought to be a long way from anything the Greeks would have recognised, is seen as the first work in a new form, opera. Rinuccini and Peri next collaborated on Euridice. This was first performed on October 6, 1600, at the Palazzo Pitti. Unlike Dafne, it has survived to the present day (though it is hardly ever staged, and then only as an historical curio). The work made use of recitatives, a new development which went between the arias and choruses and served to move the action along.

Peri produced a number of other operas, often in collaboration with other composers, and also wrote a number of other pieces for various court entertainments. Few of his pieces are performed today, and even by the time of his death his operatic style was looking old-fashioned when compared to the work of relatively younger reformist composers such as Claudio Monteverdi. Peri’s influence on those later composers, however, was large. He lived from August 20, 1561, to August 12, 1633.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Orpheus in the Marketplace
Harvard University Press, 2013
Richard A. Goldthwaite and Tim Carter
$38.77 on Amazon

Orpheus

“Richard Goldthwaite, an economic historian, and Tim Carter, a musicologist, have done much more than write a biography: their investigation exposes the remarkable value of Peri’s private account books and other financial documents as a primary source for an entire period. This record of Peri’s wide-ranging investments and activities in the marketplace enables the first detailed account of the Florentine economy in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries, and also opens a completely new perspective on one of Europe’s principal centers of capitalism.”—From the book description at Michael Shamansky, Bookseller

Selected Music

Euridice-2 Euridice (2000), 2-CD set

zazzerino Il Zazzerino (1999), 1 CD

opera omnia Opera Omnia I: Madrigali (2010), 1 CD

More Jacopo Peri music

Complete Works

Dafne, with Jacopo Corsi
L’Euridice, with Jacopo Corsi
La Flora, with Marco da Gagliano
Other operas
Other pieces for court entertainments

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He Knows a Good Time, and It’s Not Opera

evremond

Saint-Évremond

From the “unlikely-to-get-season-tickets” department, we introduce you to Charles de Saint-Évremond, whose hedonism didn’t extend to attending opera.

Hortense

Hortense Mancini

The French essayist and critic Charles de Saint-Évremond knew how to have a good time. After fleeing to England in 1661 to escape prosecution for attacking the Treaty of the Pyrenees, which ended the Franco-Spanish War, he ended up in the embrace of Hortense Mancini–a soft landing to be sure.

Mancini was the most beautiful of five beautiful daughters of Lorenzo Mancini, an Italian Baron. After an ill-conceived marriage with one of the richest (but also one of the most unstable) men in Europe, Mancini found sanctuary under the protection of Charles II and then later James II.

Comfortably ensconced in London, she turned her home into a parlor for artists and writers looking for stimulation, intellectual and otherwise. Of course  Saint-Évremond would find his way to her house, and although it’s not clear whether the stimulation he received there was anything other than intellectual, he surely found in Mancini a kindred spirit. Rational moralists both, they eschewed the idea that pleasure is a sin, as long as one’s pleasure does nothing to harm others. And indeed, Mancini developed a reputation, whether fairly or not, for her flings with both men and women.

Given this hedonism, you might think Saint-Évremond would be a lover of opera, which in the mid-1600s was just starting to migrate from Italy to France and England, but if you were to think that, you would be wrong. “The music, in some places, is charming,” he says in a letter to the Duke of Buckingham. “The whole together seems wonderful. But it must be granted me also that this wonderful is very tedious; for where the mind has so little to do, there the senses must of necessity languish. After the first pleasure that surprise gives us, the eyes are taken up, and at length grow weary of being continually fixed upon the same object. . . . The soul, fatigued by a long attention, wherein it finds nothing to affect it, seeks some relief within itself; and the mind, which in vain expected to be entertained with the show, either gives way to idle musing, or is dissatisfied that it has nothing to employ it. In a word, the fatigue is so universal, that everyone wishes himself out of the house; and the only comfort that is left to the poor spectators, is the hope that the show will soon be over.”

Well, this does not sound ike a man who will be getting season tickets anytime soon.

In any case, that was not the whole of Saint-Évremond’s criticism. Indeed, his letter to the Duke goes on at length, during which he mentions works by Monteverdi, Rossi, Cavali, and others, and then finally sums up by calling opera a wretched mix of music and poetry. And yet, he says at last, one should not advertise his distaste for opera, because it’s bad form. So, he  advises discretion. “A man runs a risk of having his judgment called in question, if he dares declare his good taste; and I advise others, when they hear any discourse of opera, to keep their knowledge a secret to themselves.” Unless, of course, one is declaring one’s tastes to the Duke.

So, we can be sure that, if ever Saint-Évremond attended opera with Hortense Mancini he did not enjoy it. But he surely enjoyed her company nonetheless.—Nabob, On Baroque

weissThe excerpts from Saint-Évremond’s letter are from a really terrific book, Music in the Western World: A History in Documents (Schirmer Books, 1984).

More about Saint-Évremond

evremond Works of Charles de Saint-Evremond

More about Hortense Mancini

hortense The Kings’ Mistresses

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Johann Adolph Hasse: Notes and Commentary

Johann Adolph Hasse was an 18th-century German composer, singer, and teacher of music. Immensely popular in his time, Hasse was best known for his prolific operatic output, though he also composed a considerable quantity of sacred music. He was a pivotal figure in the development of opera seria and 18th-century music.

Despite his popularity as a figure at the very forefront of 18th-century serious Italian opera, after his death Hasse’s reputation vastly declined and his music lay mostly unperformed (with the exception of some of his sacred works, which were revived now and again in Germany). In particular, his operas sank without trace and revival only begun as the 20th century approached its end.

In his day, Hasse’s style was noted primarily for his lyricism and sense of melody.
Careful choice of key was a crucial factor in Hasse’s style, with certain emotions usually marked out by certain key choices. Amorous feelings were expressed by A, for instance, while for expressions of aristocratic nobility Hasse used C and B flat; on the other hand, his supernatural and fear-inducing music usually went into the keys of C and F minor. Most of his arias begin in the major, switching only to minor for the B section before returning to major for the da capo. As his career developed his arias grew much longer but a lyrical sense was still his overriding target. He lived from March 1699 to December 16, 1783.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Johann Adolph Hasse Books and Music
More on Johann Adolph Hasse
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Johann Adolph Hasse, 1699-1783

Hasse

Selected Recordings

Adagio

Cleofide

Sinfonia in G Minor

Selected Sheet Music

Flute Concerto in G Major
flute concerto

Source: IMSLP.org

Showcase Piece

Laudate pueri, Psalm 112

Notes and Commentary

Johann Adolph Hasse was an 18th-century German composer, singer, and teacher of music. Immensely popular in his time, Hasse was best known for his prolific operatic output, though he also composed a considerable quantity of sacred music. He was a pivotal figure in the development of opera seria and 18th-century music.

Despite his popularity as a figure at the very forefront of 18th-century serious Italian opera, after his death Hasse’s reputation vastly declined and his music lay mostly unperformed (with the exception of some of his sacred works, which were revived now and again in Germany). In particular, his operas sank without trace and revival only begun as the 20th century approached its end.

In his day, Hasse’s style was noted primarily for his lyricism and sense of melody.
Careful choice of key was a crucial factor in Hasse’s style, with certain emotions usually marked out by certain key choices. Amorous feelings were expressed by A, for instance, while for expressions of aristocratic nobility Hasse used C and B flat; on the other hand, his supernatural and fear-inducing music usually went into the keys of C and F minor. Most of his arias begin in the major, switching only to minor for the B section before returning to major for the da capo. As his career developed his arias grew much longer but a lyrical sense was still his overriding target. He lived from March 1699 to December 16, 1783.—Excerpted from Wikipedia

Books and Music

Selected Books

Cleofide (sheet music)
Johann Adolph Hasse
$62.10

cleofide

 

Selected Music

hasse-ja Sonates pour clavecin (2013), 1 CD

didone Didone abbandonata (2013), 3-CD set

tisbe Piramo E Tisbe (1995), 2-CD set

More Johann Adolph Hasse music

Complete Works

Hasse’s output was extensive. Access complete list.

Instrumental music

    • Six sonatas for cembalo (pianoforte)
    • Six trio sonatas
    • Sonata I in e minor
    • Sonata II in C major
    • Sonata III in A major
    • Sonata IV in G major
    • Sonata V in E major
    • Sonata VI in D major

Cantatas and ballads

      • Chieggio ai gigli ed alle rose (Pietro Metastasio; Naples 1727/1729)
      • Il nome or Scrivo in te l’amato nome (Pietro Metastasio; Naples 1727/1729)
      • È ver, mia Fille, è vero (Pietro Metastasio; Naples 1727/1729)
      • L’Armonica or Ah perché col canto mio (with glass harmonica) (Pietro Metastasio; Vienna 1769)
      • La Gelosia (Pietro Metastasio; Vienna 1769)

Church music

        • Litaniae Lauretanae in f minor
        • Liltaniae Lauretanae in G major
        • Missa ultima in g minor (Venice, 1783)
        • Messe in d minor (1751)
        • Miserere in d minor

Opera

            • Antioco
            • Apostolo Zeno
            • Antonio e Cleopatra
            • l Sesostrate
            • La Semele

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Jean-Philipe Rameau, 1683-1764

200px-attribuc3a9_c3a0_joseph_aved_portrait_de_jean-philippe_rameau_vers_1728_-_001

Selected Recordings

Les Indes galantes: Chaconne

Platée, La Folie

Gavotte with 6 variations on piano

Selected Sheet Music

Laboravi clamans
laboravi
Source: CPDL.org

Showcase Piece

Les Cyclopes: Harpsichord Solo

Notes and Commentary

“With Jean-Philipe Rameau, the golden age of French classical opera is at hand. Lully was the founder of the French opera, and in essence Rameau’s operas were an extension of Lully, and not a departure. This fact makes all the more ridiculous the bitter war raged against Rameau by the Lully faction, which came to regard Rameau as an arch enemy, the negation of what Lully stood for and accomplished.”—David Ewen, The Complete Book of Classical Music

“Top early French harpsichord genius, theorist, and opera specialist”—Phil GouldingClassical Music

Jean-Philippe Rameau  was one of the most important French composers and music theorists of the Baroque era. He replaced Jean-Baptiste Lully as the dominant composer of French opera and is also considered the leading French composer for the harpsichord of his time, alongside François Couperin.

Little is known about Rameau’s early years, and it was not until the 1720s that he won fame as a major theorist of music with his Treatise on Harmony (1722). He was almost 50 before he embarked on the operatic career on which his reputation chiefly rests. His debut, Hippolyte Et Aricie (1733), caused a great stir and was fiercely attacked for its revolutionary use of harmony by the supporters of Lully’s style of music.

Nevertheless, Rameau’s pre-eminence in the field of French opera was soon acknowledged, and he was later attacked as an “establishment” composer by those who favoured Italian opera during the controversy known as the Querelle des Bouffons in the 1750s. Rameau’s music had gone out of fashion by the end of the 18th century, and it was not until the 20th that serious efforts were made to revive it. Today, he enjoys renewed appreciation with performances and recordings of his music ever more frequent. He lived from September 25, 1683, to September 12, 1764.—Excerpted from Wikipedia 

Books and Music

Selected Books

Treatise on Harmony
Dover Books on Music, 1971
Jean-Philippe Rameau
$13.59 at Amazon

treatise

“The importance of this work in the history of music would be hard to overestimate. While later music theorists and analysts, such as Schenker, find this emphasis on chords to be destructive to the horizontal considerations that make a great work hold together, this work has influenced so many people that even those that do not even know his name but talk about root position chords and their inversions are invoking his concepts without realizing the source.”—Craig Matteson on Amazon

Jean-Philippe Rameau: His Life and Work
Cuthbert Girdlestone
Dover Publications, 1990
$31.01 used

lifeandwork

“OK, this is unquestionably a major book on Rameau, if not THE major work. So let’s get that out of the way. Masterful, scholarly, detailed and analytical, it’s a must. But, Rameau gave us more than most people know. First of all, he codified harmony for centuries to come. . . . The Baroque started with harmony in flux, and by the time it was over, there were certain progressions and cadences that had become established, and that still make sense today. . . .  And Rameau was the man who set it down. His treatises are hard reading, and I suspect still not fully understood. And here is a basic problem with Girdlestone. In such a thick book, 600 pages, how can you fail to even try [to talk about this]? He mentions that others have covered the subject, and backs out at the outset of a brief chapter in which he mainly teeters on the verge of calling Rameau a crank. And that is not very deep or adventurous for what aims to be a definitive book on Rameau.”—Fernand Raynaud on Amazon

Selected Music
Hebe Les Fetes d’Hebe (1998), 2-CD set

imaginaire Une Symphonie Imaginaire (2005), 1 CD

41Q5BMR8QZL._AA160_ Overtures (1997), 1 CD

Complete Works

The following list is excerpted from Wikipedia.
RCT numbering refers to Rameau Catalogue Thématique established by Sylvie Bouissou and Denis Herlin.

Instrumental works

  • Pièces de clavecin. Trois livres. “Pieces for harpsichord”, 3 books, published 1706, 1724, 1726/27(?). 

    • RCT 1 – Premier livre de Clavecin (1706)
    • RCT 2 – Pièces de clavecin (1724) – Suite in E minor
    • RCT 3 – Pièces de clavecin (1724) – Suite in D major
    • RCT 4 – Pièces de clavecin (1724) – Menuet in C major
    • RCT 5 – Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (1726/27) – Suite in A minor
    • RCT 6 – Nouvelles suites de pièces de clavecin (1726/27) – Suite in G minor
  • Pieces de Clavecin en Concerts Five albums of character pieces for harpsichord, violin and viol. (1741)
    • RCT 7 – Concert I in C minor
    • RCT 8 – Concert II in G major
    • RCT 9 – Concert III in A major
    • RCT 10 – Concert IV in B flat major
    • RCT 11 – Concert V in D minor
  • RCT 12 – La Dauphine for harpsichord. (1747)
  • RCT 12bis – Les petits marteaux for harpsichord.
  • Several orchestral dance suites extracted from his operas.

Motets

  • RCT 13 – Deus noster refugium (c.1713–1715)
  • RCT 14 – In convertendo (probably before 1720)
  • RCT 15 – Quam dilecta (c. 1713–1715)
  • RCT 16 – Laboravi (published in the Traité de l’harmonie, 1722)

Canons

  • RCT 17 – Ah! loin de rire, pleurons (soprano, alto, tenor, bass) (pub. 1722)
  • RCT 18 – Avec du vin, endormons-nous (2 sopranos, Tenor) (1719)
  • RCT 18bis – L’épouse entre deux draps (3 sopranos) (formerly attributed to François Couperin)
  • RCT 18ter – Je suis un fou Madame (3 voix égales) (1720)
  • RCT 19 – Mes chers amis, quittez vos rouges bords (3 sopranos, 3 basses) (pub. 1780)
  • RCT 20 – Réveillez-vous, dormeur sans fin (5 voix égales) (pub. 1722)
  • RCT 20bis – Si tu ne prends garde à toi (2 sopranos, bass) (1720)

Songs

  • RCT 21.1 – L’amante préoccupée or A l’objet que j’adore (soprano, continuo) (1763)
  • RCT 21.2 – Lucas, pour se gausser de nous (soprano, bass, continuo) (pub. 1707)
  • RCT 21.3 – Non, non, le dieu qui sait aimer (soprano, continuo) (1763)
  • RCT 21.4 – Un Bourbon ouvre sa carrière or Un héros ouvre sa carrière (alto, continuo) (1751, air belonging to Acante et Céphise but censored before its first performance and never reintroduced in the work).

Cantatas

  • RCT 23 – Aquilon et Orithie (between 1715 and 1720)
  • RCT 28 – Thétis (same period)
  • RCT 26 – L’impatience (same period)
  • RCT 22 – Les amants trahis (around 1720)
  • RCT 27 – Orphée (same period)
  • RCT 24 – Le berger fidèle (1728)
  • RCT 25 – Cantate pour le jour de la Saint Louis (1740)

Operas and stage works

Main article: List of operas by Rameau

Tragédies en musique

  • RCT 43 – Hippolyte et Aricie (1733; revised 1742)
  • RCT 32 – Castor et Pollux (1737; revised 1754)
  • RCT 35 – Dardanus (1739; revised 1744 and 1760)
  • RCT 62 – Zoroastre (1749; revised 1756, with new music for Acts II, III & V)
  • RCT 31 – Les Boréades or Abaris (unperformed; in rehearsal 1763)

Opéra-ballets

  • RCT 44 – Les Indes galantes (1735; revised 1736)
  • RCT 41 – Les fêtes d’Hébé or les Talens Lyriques (1739)
  • RCT 39 – Les fêtes de Polymnie (1745)
  • RCT 59 – Le temple de la gloire (1745; revised 1746)
  • RCT 38 – Les fêtes de l’Hymen et de l’Amour or Les Dieux d’Egypte (1747)
  • RCT 58 – Les surprises de l’Amour (1748; revised 1757)

Pastorales héroïques

  • RCT 60 – Zaïs (1748)
  • RCT 49 – Naïs (1749)
  • RCT 29 – Acante et Céphise or La sympathie (1751)
  • RCT 34 – Daphnis et Eglé (1753)

Comédies lyriques

  • RCT 53 – Platée or Junon jalouse (1745)
  • RCT 51 – Les Paladins or Le Vénitien (1760)

Comédie-ballet

  • RCT 54 – La princesse de Navarre (1744)

Actes de ballet

  • RCT 33 – Les courses de Tempé (1734)
  • RCT 40 – Les fêtes de Ramire (1745)
  • RCT 52 – Pigmalion (1748)
  • RCT 42 – La guirlande or Les fleurs enchantées (1751)
  • RCT 57 – Les sibarites or Sibaris (1753)
  • RCT 48 – La naissance d’Osiris or La Fête Pamilie (1754)
  • RCT 30 – Anacréon (1754)
  • RCT 58 – Anacréon (completely different work from the above, 1757, 3rd Entrée of Les surprises de l’Amour)
  • RCT 61 – Zéphire (date unknown)
  • RCT 50 – Nélée et Myrthis (date unknown)
  • RCT 45 – Io (unfinished, date unknown)

Lost works

Main article: Lost operas by Jean-Philippe Rameau
  • RCT 56 – Samson (tragédie en musique) (partially performed in 1734)
  • RCT 46 – Linus (tragédie en musique) (1752, score stolen after a rehearsal)
  • RCT 47 – Lysis et Délie (pastorale) (scheduled on November 6, 1753)

Incidental music for opéras comiques
Music mostly lost.

  • RCT 36 – L’endriague (in 3 acts, 1723)
  • RCT 37 – L’enrôlement d’Arlequin (in 1 act, 1726)
  • RCT 55 – La robe de dissension or Le faux prodige (in 2 acts, 1726)
  • RCT 55bis – La rose or Les jardins de l’Hymen (in a prologue and 1 act, 1744)

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