Caldara: Quel duolo del mio core; Dipartita amorosa; Sonata a tre in D minor, Op. 1/6; Ciaccona in B minor

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WORKS: Quel duolo del mio core; Dipartita amorosa; Sonata a tre in D minor, Op. 1/6; Ciaccona in B minor
PERFORMER: Monique Zanetti (soprano), Pascal Bertin (countertenor); Fons Musicae/Yasunori Imamura
Vivaldi’s slightly older Venetian contemporary Antonio Caldara divided his successful musical life almost equally between Italy and Austria. As vice-Kapellmeister at the Viennese court he set dramatic texts by Zeno and Metastasio, while in Italy, earlier on, he wrote instrumental music, oratorios and chamber cantatas of varying dimensions, some 200 of which were composed in Rome. Most of these belong to the period when Caldara enjoyed the patronage of Count Ruspoli, between 1709 and his departure for Vienna in 1716. The two cantatas performed here, and recorded for the first time, belong to this period and are notably fine examples of Caldara’s skill in the chamber cantata medium with its almost invariable Arcadian backdrop. Both works are substantial and are written for a soprano and an alto voice with two violins and basso continuo. Each is prefaced with an instrumental sinfonia after which follows the customary alternating pattern of recitative, aria and concluding duet. The music is of almost uniformly high quality with a wealth of beguiling melodies sung with charm and impeccably stylistic credentials by Monique Zanetti and Pascal Bertin. Violinists François Fernandez and Sara Kuijken are equally deserving of praise since their musical rapport and well-matched tone greatly enhance the over-all excellence of this enterprise. Add to these virtues a tasteful and imaginatively realised continuo and we have wonderful performances of distinction. I look forward to hearing more from Zanetti, Bertin and Fons Musicae under the sympathetic direction of theorbo player Yasunori Imamura. Nicholas Anderson