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"Venetian composers in Guatemala and Bolivia"

Roberta Pozzera, Sylva Pozzerb, soprano; Vincenzo Di Donato, tenorc
Dir: Aníbal E. Cetrangolo

rec: June 3 - 5, 2007, Carceri (Padua), Abbazia di Santa Maria
Arts - 47722-8 (© 2008) (76'00")

Giacomo FACCO (1670-1757): Cantada humana de dos arias con violón (Quando en el Oriente)c; Torméntase el alma - Morir más es vivir, recitative & ariaa; Baldassare GALUPPI (1706-1785): Cantada al SSmo con violines (Sagrada Piedra)c; De Dios esposa amante, ariab; Duro como una pena, aria: instrumental prelude; En el medio silencio de la noche - Gira volando la sacra esfera, introduction, recitative & ariab; Quien no busca la estrella, ariaa; Antonio Gaetano PAMPANI (1705?-1775): Oy gustoso el corazóna

Luca Congedo, Francesco Padovani, transverse flute; Davide Bettin, Ruggiero Vartolo, oboe; Laszlo Borsody, ; Sandor Endrödi, Zsolt Kocsis, horn; Gabrielle Shenk, Ettore Scimemi, violin; Simone Tieppo, cello; Patxi Montero, viola da gamba, violone; Elizabeth Wright, harpsichord

The music which has been found in archives in Latin America is getting much attention from musicologists and ensembles lately. In particular in the 17th century missionaries from Spain and Portugal travelled to the Americas and took the music with them they were used to hear or perform in their own countries. This repertoire was often arranged, and was also used as models by native composers for their own compositions. This disc is devoted to music from the 18th century, and from Italy - not exactly the kind of music one expects to find in Latin American archives. It is even more surprising as all pieces on this disc are of secular origin.

The recording is the second in a series which is devoted to Italian music in Latin American archives. It is based on a project by the Italian Institute for the study of Latin American music in the colonial period, which was founded in 1979. The pieces on this disc are from the archives of the cathedral of Guatemala. Only one piece is from Bolivia, Gira volando la sacra esfera, an aria by Baldassare Galuppi, preceded by an introduction and a recitative. One shouldn't conclude from this that Galuppi has composed any music on Spanish text. The music by Galuppi and Pampani are examples of parodies: the original secular texts in Italian were replaced by Spanish texts of a spiritual character.

After the death of Antonio Vivaldi Baldassare Galuppi was the main composer of operas in Venice. The arias on this disc are from several of his operas, and were collected by Manuel José de Quirós, who was the maestro de capilla of Guatemala Cathedral from 1738 to 1765. The programme opens with the aria De Dios esposa amante, which was originally the aria 'Dal labbro che t'accende' from Galuppi's opera Adriano in Siria. With its new text the aria was sung at the Epistle, but further textual adaptations made it also suitable to be sung on the feast of Our Lady. The opera Olimpiade by Galuppi contains the aria 'Son qual per mar turbato'. The music was used for the aria 'Gira volando la sacra esfera', which was sung at Nativity. Again the new text was later adapted for other occasions, like the Nativity of the Virgin and the Holy Sacrament. The liner-notes don't tell whether the introduction and the recitative which precede the aria are also by Galuppi. From the same opera is also another aria in the archive of Guatemala Cathedral: 'Tu di saper procura'. It was given again a new text: 'Duro como una pena', sung in honour of St Peter. Here only the instrumental introduction is played.

Interestingly the Cantada al SSmo con violines is from a Spanish source. It was added to a performance of Galuppi's opera Didone abbandonata for a performance in 1752 in Madrid at the occasion of the birthday of King Ferdinando VI, and organised by the castrato Farinelli, who lived in Madrid at the time. The original aria begins with the words "No ho pace, non trovo respiro". The programme ends with the aria Oy gustoso el corazón which is wrongly attributed to Galuppi in the Guatemala manuscript. The real composer is Antonio Gaetano Pampani, who composed a considerable number of operas and oratorios, in addition to liturgical and instrumental music. In 1746 he became a member of the prestigious Accademia Filarmonica of Bologna. The aria recorded here is based on 'Viverò se tu lo vuoi cara parte del mio cor' from Pampani's opera Artaserse. With its new text the aria was sung at the feast of Saint Simon the Zealot, who was venerated in Sacacoyo in El Salvador, about 30 kilometres from Guatemala.

Lastly Giacomo Facco: he was born in Marsango, near Padua. Nothing is known about his musical education or the first stages in his career. The first thing we know is that he was at the service of the Marquis de los Balbases, Carlo Filippo Spinola, who first was governor of Naples and then became viceroy of Sicily in 1707. Here Facco composed a number of operas. In 1713 Facco went with Spinola to Spain, where he became a violinist in the royal chapel and music master to the princes Luis, Carlos and Fernando. He developed into a highly respected composer but towards the end of his life he seems to have been demoted to a mere violinist in the orchestra. The largest part of Facco's oeuvre has been lost through fire. Why exactly Facco is included here is not clear. In the liner-notes there is no reference to the presence of the pieces on the programme in Latin American archives. They are not only written to a Spanish text, but also in the Spanish style of the first half of the 18th century. As far as I can tell these are secular in nature. But that is hard to tell, since the booklet contains the lyrics, but without any translation.

This very fact also makes it hard to assess the music, and in particular whether the textual adaptations suit the music. And therefore I also can't say anything about the way the singers deal with the texts. At least their voices are very good and they show good stylistic insight. The recitatives could have been taken with a bit more rhythmic freedom. Vincenzo Di Donato now and then goes a little over the top in the cadenzas, but that doesn't undermine the positive impression of these performances. The orchestra also delivers fine interpretations.

Johan van Veen (© 2011)

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