Over the centuries since his death, the scandalous, life of Alessandro Stradella (1639–1682) has captured the interest of listeners and scholars more than his compositions, influential though they were during his lifetime. The Italian composer’s adventures, which included dangerous love affairs, an attempted assassination and the stabbing that ended his life, have inspired novelists, opera composers and film directors.
Yet Stradella’s music is every bit as colourful and intriguing as his biography. His oratorio Ester, liberatrice del popolo Hebreo, based on the Old Testament story of Esther, whose bravery saves the Jews from slaughter and exposes the wickedness of the King’s counsellor Haman, exemplifies the composer’s distinctive style, while conforming to the traditions of the 17th-century oratorio. Moral teaching, vocal virtuosity and sinuous melodies are combined, in a work that expresses plethora of affects and emotions – from Esther’s sorrow to Haman’s malevolence.
In this fine recording, the world premiere performance, Il Concento and a group of accomplished soloists deliver a thoroughly researched and historically informed performance (using period instruments), led by the acclaimed conductor Luca Franco Ferrari, a Renaissance and Baroque specialist. This is just one in a series of Stradella recordings issued by Brilliant Classics, who are spearheading the revival of this fascinating composer; those who enjoyed this year’s earlier recording of the oratorio La Susanna will be eager to add Ester to their collections.
- The world premiere recording of the Oratorio Ester by Alessandro Stradella, performed on period instruments.
- Stradella lived dangerously, he was finally stabbed to death after a life of secret love affairs, an attempted assassination and other juicy events, which have stirred the imagination of novelists and film producers in later times.
- Stradella’s music is as adventurous as was his life and his many fine works receive more and more attention from both press and public.
- The oratorio Ester, Liberatrix of the Hebrew People, draws on the Old Testament story of Esther, a source of high drama and passion.
- Excellent Italian line up of soloists, and an ensemble playing authentic instruments, conducted by Luca Franco Ferrari.
- Includes booklet notes in English and Italian.
- Sung texts and translations available by clicking on download booklet, below the cover.
- Further Stradella recordings on Brilliant Classics include his oratorio La Susanna (94345), Italian Arias (94258) and his Cantata for Christmas Eve and Sinfonias (93367).