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Brilliant Classics

Celano/ Criscuolo/ Romabarocca Ensemble - BaSS Cantatas

Celano/ Criscuolo/ Romabarocca Ensemble - BaSS Cantatas

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Giuseppe Corsi (c.1631/1691), known as Celani, was one of the most important composers of the Roman school active in the second half of the 17th century. Corsi's catalogue of works includes around 23 secular compositions including Cantatas for one voice and basso continuo. The protagonist of the cantata Dalle balze sicane is the mythological Enceladus who, having been plunged into the bowels of Mount Etna by the goddess Athena, invokes Jupiter to placate the outrage against him. The character's 'misfortunes' and 'sorrows' of love in Cruda legge del mio fato find analogies with those experienced by the composer. The first aria in this cantata is rich in complex enharmonics, greatly expanded and varied in the repeat, when the voice is engaged in difficult bravura passages. The cantata Abbandonato e solo begins with a veritable monologue from Roman emperor Nero, tormented by his past ghosts. The cantata on this album by Giacomo Antonio Perti (1661-1756), Pompe, voi che ascondete, although attributed to Corsi's favourite pupil, is in fact still of unproven authorship. It is possible that Giuseppe Corsi met Giovanni Battista Vitali (1632-1692). The two composers in 1685 took part in the famous dispute over parallel fifths in Arcangelo Corelli's Sonata Op.2 No.3. The bass of the violin family, of which Vitali was a virtuoso, was widespread thanks to the Este patronage of Duke Francesco I. In his cantatas, Corsi repeatedly insists on the B flat grave, a characteristic of violin bass tuning, and the numerous semiquaver passages are particularly agile on the violone, so it is not unlikely that the composer from Marsica had this instrument in mind. It is also for this reason that Corsi's compositions have been joined by some movements from the Partite sopra diverse sonatas for the violone by Vitali that are particularly pleasing.

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