WORKS: La faretra smarrita
PERFORMER: Verena Krause, Tissi Georg (soprano), Gunther Schmid (countertenor), Hermann Oswald, Martin Steffan, Rufus Müller (tenor), Thomas Ruf (bass); Salzburg Hofmusik/Wolfgang Brunner
CATALOGUE NO: 999 851-2
Sebastiano Moratelli (b1640 in Venice) probably left Italy to serve Princess Anna Maria Josepha in Vienna before he was 20, and then afterwards served her husband, the Prince Elector Johann Wilhelm of the Palatinate in Düsseldorf. The serenata La faretra smarrita (The Lost Quiver) may have been composed after 1690, and was probably designed to flatter the Prince’s second wife Anna Maria Luisa de Medici: the plot’s principal figures Mercury and Amor search for the God of Love’s missing quiver of arrows across Africa, Asia and America without success. Naturally, they eventually turn to Europe and an echo informs them that Amor has been robbed of Love’s darts by a Florentine lady named Anna.
Although this sounds like potentially unpromising material the result is infectious. The arias are concise, characters are neatly contrasted and the fairly short serenata never outstays its welcome. Director Wolfgang Brunner optimises the dramatic confrontations in the score – the extrovert ritornelli frequently pay homage to Mortadelli’s Venetian roots – and the Salzburger Hofmusik’s impressive continuo section drives the music along with a sense of fun and adventure. It is a pity that the alertness of the players is not universally matched by the singers, who are generally acceptable rather than particularly exciting. That said, this is another fine example of CPO’s enterprising programming. David Vickers