Pasquini: L'ombra Di Solimano

Album cover art for upc 5028421952932
Catalog: BRI95293

Nigito, Alexandra; Abadie, Lisandro; Capella Tiberina

Renowned in his day as a virtuoso keyboard player, Bernardo Pasquini (1637-1710) was the most important Italian composer of keyboard music between Frescobaldi and Domenico Scarlatti. In that capacity his output has output has been surveyed by Brilliant Classics with authoritative collections of his sonatas for harpsichord (94286) and for two organs (94347). However, Pasquini also composed more than 70 cantatas of the concise and dramatic kind written by the young Handel after he arrived in Rome in 1706. By that late stage of his life, Pasquini had held one distinguished post after another in Roman musical life and become known as one of its celebrities, as celebrated for his abilities at the harpsichord as his contemporary Corelli was on the violin. Most of his vocal music remains unpublished, which makes the pioneering efforts of Capella Tiberina in this field especially welcome. This new recording forms a sequel to their 2013 album of two Passion Cantatas (94225) and makes a powerful case for Pasquini as Rome’s leading dramatic composer of his day. Among Pasquini’s surviving cantatas, the six scored for solo bass stand out, for their keen sense of theatre and expressive rhetoric. They take Biblical history, tales of Roman history and pastoral-erotic tropes for their subjects, and they are imaginatively presented here as a cycle, interleaved with pieces for harpsichord, as though recreating a refined evening of music-making at a Roman palazzo around the turn of the 18th century. Capella Tiberina is led in these stylish accounts by the harpsichordist Alessandra Nigito, who has made a particular study of Pasquini’s vocal music and edited several of his cantatas for modern publication. There is no more authoritative current exponent of this music, and she is joined here by other experienced performers on Italy’s rich early-music scene.

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