Stradella: Amanti, olà olà; Chi ressiste al Dio bendato

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Stradella
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Stradella
WORKS: Amanti, olà olà; Chi ressiste al Dio bendato
PERFORMER: Rosita Frisani, Cristiana Presutti, Anna Chierichetti (soprano), Gianluca Belfiori Doro (alto), Mario Cecchetti, Makoto Sakurada (tenor), Riccardo Ristori (bass); Alessandro Stradella Consort/Estevan Velardi
This is ravishing music in a decent,


sometimes moving, performance.

Because no one else has recorded

these works, the disc is worthwhile

– though I hope other specialists

will take up these cantatas.

Stradella’s prolific output is

largely unedited, which makes the

rapid appearance of alternative discs

unlikely, though his turbulent life has

long attracted biographers. Stradella

had what turned out to be a fatal

attraction to, and for, noblewomen

and mistresses of noblemen;

outrage against one conquest

caused his assassination at age 43.

In L’Accademia d’Amore Stradella

interprets love with an unacademic

intensity. His scoring is inspired, with

unlikely combinations of movements

(sinfonia, a cappella madrigal, arioso

recitative), fluid, unpredictable

shifts between concertino and

concerto grosso, and tender melodies

underpinned by a plangent continuo

that conjoin to overpower poetry with

music. The consort responds with

verve, contrasting percussive attacato

with soothing cantabile, while

continuo realisations always enhance

the dramatic moment.

However the singers capitalise

less on Stradella’s genius: Frisani’s messa da voce elegantly sustains her protracted phrases, but her top

range can be strained; among the

other vocalists, inconsistencies – in

vibrato, colour, or control – surface

throughout. The astringency of

the sound recording undermines

blending generally. These flaws

detract from, but do not overshadow,

a performance brimming with


enthusiasm. Berta Joncus