La Conversione Di Maddalena; Wien 1701

Album cover art for upc 8424562209442
Label: Glossa
Catalog: GCD920944

Lombardi, Francesca; La Venexiana; Bellotto, Matteo; Fumagalli, Marta; Galli, Emanuela; Palomba, Gabriele

Giovanni Bononcini composed the four-part oratorio La Conversione di Maddalena for the Habsburg emperor Leopold I in 1701. The musician from Modena, at the time at the apex of his European fame, had at his disposal the best forces of the Imperial Chapel: four singers (two sopranos, a contralto and a bass) of top rate and an instrumental ensemble, limited to strings but adequately consistent to articulate a concert dialectic with tutti-concertino, including soloist pages for the violin, the cello and the viola da gamba. The extremely popular story of Mary Magdalene – a subject among the most fascinating in the Baroque spirituality of the Counter-reformation – is dealt with in original terms by the anonymous author of the libretto, who through a suggestive use of poetry “places on stage” the difficult journey of conversion of the sinner saint. Mary Magdalene is urged by the percussive incitement of her sister Marta (like in the painting of Caravaggio), who at the end of several stages of a contradicting drama plot, will succeed in winning her over to the field of Sacred Love, making vain the offers and threats of Profane Love. Bononcini reacts to the suggestions of the text by producing a score that holds a wonderful variety and a constant novelty of invention, and in which immediate heartfelt expressiveness, conspicuous vocal requirements and many nuances of timbre and harmony concur to define a sculpted profile for each character.

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