Antonio Caldara (1670-1736) schuf in seinen letzten zwanzig Lebensjahren, die er als Vizekapellmeister in Diensten Kaiser Karls VI. am Wiener Hof stand, unter anderem zahlreiche Oratorien, aus denen das 1724 entstandene Passionsoratorium Morte e sepoltura di Christo besonders herausragt. Für die Einspielung des Werkes mit dem Stavanger Symfoniorkester hat Fabio Biondi zusätzlich ergänzende Werke eingefügt, die wie ein Nachhall auf den italienisch-venezianischen Hintergrund Caldaras wirken: zwei Motetten und Instrumentalwerke, darunter eine Sonate von Vivaldi. Mit Caldaras Morte e sepoltura di Christo kehrt Fabio Biondi zu einem weiteren seiner Spezialgebiete zurück: dem italienischen Oratorium.
With Antonio Caldara s 'Morte e sepoltura di Christo', released on Glossa just after a new album devoted to Vivaldi s late violin concertos, Fabio Biondi returns to the Italian oratorio, another of his specialities. The Venetians Caldara and Vivaldi may have been contemporaries but their career paths led them in different directions, and Caldara was to spend much time working in Mantua and Rome before securing the position of vice-Kapellmeister for the Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI in Vienna. For the last 20 years of his life Caldara produced copious quantities of oratorios (and operas), adding a rich sense of counterpoint and making use of the broad orchestral colouring offered by the varied instruments available to him at the Imperial court. Composed for the Lenten season in 1724, 'Morte e sepoltura' follows the typical two-part scheme of the time, to a text comprising a series of reflections as from personages involved in some way in the events of the Passion of Christ. Notable is the profusion of solo arias with obliggato instrumental parts. Fabio Biondi s recording, with a team of soloists led by Maria Grazia Schiavo and Silvia Frigato, also includes other echoes of Caldara s Italian past a pair of motets and instrumental music (a Vivaldi Sonata also makes an appearance), and he directs the Stavanger Symphony Orchestra, with which he has worked so successfully in the Norwegian orchestra s early music programme since 2006. The album also contains an exemplary essay by the leading Caldara scholar Brian W Pritchard.
Performance: ***** Recording: ***** 'Biondi is a bold guide. Sensitive to Caldara s idioms, he treats counterpoint severely and arias fulsomely, letting us hear how Caldara generates contrasting moods. And Biondi himself plays solo violin interpolations with exquisite delicacy. Soprano Maria Grazia Schiavo illuminates the character of Maria Maddalena with pathos ... [a] profound expression, not just of Caldara s score, but also of human suffering.' --Berta Joncus BBC Music Magazine, June 2015
8/10 'the performances are all excellent, as is the sound quality, and there is a most informative essay by Brian W Pritchard in the CD booklet. Listeners who enjoy Italian baroque music or who want to explore the roots of Italian opera will find much to enjoy in the double CD' --Steven Whitehead Cross Rhythms, 26th March 2015
'An essential addition to the Caldara discography' --David Vickers Gramophone, July 2015