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In the Italian society of the early eighteenth century, the musical genre of the chamber cantata was popular as a refined form of entertainment. The chamber cantata is a relatively short composition, consisting of a couple of arias with the addition of one or two recitatives. They were performed in the private ambiances of the noble circles. A performance just needed the instruments of the basso continuo
(harpsichord, cello, and if wanted for example a lute) and of course an excellent voice.
The Venetian composer Benedetto Marcello (1686-1737) was one of the most prolific composers of the genre, especially in his early years between 1710 and 1720. He wrote approximately 300 cantatas of which over 20 for the bass voice. This is an exceptionally high number. The composer strived to achieve a perfect harmony between poetry and music. As such, his cantatas were an invaluable laboratory for his famous Psalms. These were admired by great composers like Rossini, Bizet, Verdi, and Chopin. Verdi especially appreciated Marcello's recitatives.
The present recording offers five chamber cantatas of Marcello for the bass voice. All the cantatas of this recording are in RARA form (Recitative-Aria-Recitative-Aria) and the arias regularly have the da capo
form. The recitatives are often unpredictable in their harmonic solutions.
Like most of Marcello's cantatas, they treat the subject of love. But the lovers are not happy. They struggle with the all too human complexity of love: feelings of rejection, sadness, jealousy, hope, and mourning. Their thoughts and feelings are intended to stimulate personal reflection. For Sergio Foresti and his colleagues it was a great joy to explore this music together with its complex feelings and nuances. In the spirit of Benedetto Marcello they seek to express the words and meaning of the text in these virtuosic and beautiful compositions.
for the booklet with Italian, German and French translations.