The Venetian composer Antonio Caldara was one of the most famous musicians of his day. In his operas, oratorios and cantatas he showcased the exceptional talents of his singers and the solo virtuosity of his instrumentalists, while also demonstrating an extraordinary wealth of musical ideas. Valer Sabadus and the ensemble nuono aspetto present a varied selection of Caldara's arias of irresistible beauty and fascination - six of them to be heard for the first time.
Charles Avison named Caldara along with Arcangelo Corelli, Alessandro Scarlatti and George Frideric Handel as the composers …
"… whose works have been thoroughly proved and have stood the never failing test of time." Charles Burney wrote in his famous History of Music "Caldara was one of the greatest professors both for the Church and the stage that Italy can boast" and "there is no composer of oratorios anterior to Handel of whose choruses I have any great expectations, except Caldara."
In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the death of Miguel de Cervantes, La Ritirata and Josetxu Obregon have created a program for Glossa sallying forth on the back of music composed by Antonio Caldara and inspired by El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Manch. Antonio Caldara was neither the first nor the last composer to have his compositional ingenuity sparked off by Cervantes' timeless masterpiece. Interspersed between these vocal contributions are a series of instrumental ballets composed for these operas.
A signal moment in the arrival of Italian music on Spanish soil came in the summer of 1708 when Antonio Caldara, finding his opportunities for providing dramatic works for the opera-loving Duke of Mantua limited by the War of the Spanish Succession, headed off to Barcelona to take on acommission for putting on an operatic work from Archduke Charles (“Carlos III”), who was preparing his own wedding festivities at the court he had established in order to contend for the Spanish throne. For three centuries this serenata, Il più bel nome has (like much of the hugely successful theatre music of its time written by this Baroque composer from Venice) been passed over – thereby presenting Emilio Moreno and El Concierto Español with a superb opportunity to gather together an outstanding quintet of soloists to lead this paean of praise to St Elisabeth and, by extension, to Archduke Charles’ future wife, Princess Elisabeth Christine of Wolfenbüttel.
Antonio Caldara, in this recently rediscovered church opéra, reaches a rare level of beauty and intensity. Beauty essentially due to the perfect blend and contrast between the various voices. The two alti and the two soprani are absolutely marvellous in their complementary values and hues, and they enhance the bass and the tenor in a unique way. Intensity due to the debate in Maddalena between carnal love and spiritual christian love. This debate is represented by the fight between the two alti, Amor Celeste and Amor Terreno, redoubled with the same debate between the two soprani…
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU
Early in 1709 Antonio Caldara became maestro di cappella to the Marchese Francesco Maria Ruspoli in Rome. If the appointment brought new stability to his personal life, it also inspired him to remarkable creative effort. The two cantatas recorded here afford only a brief glimpse into a veritable musical treasure chest, the legacy of the seven years he held sway over an array of entertainments given by one of Rome's most lavish patrons of the arts.