We don’t know much about Carlo Sturla, not even the dates of his birth and death, and he is absent from Google – quite an achievement! The sole reference to him is in the register of the Convent of Santa Brigida belonging to the Sisters of the Sacred Heart. Sturla worked here, but apparently his assiduous attendance upon and training of the young women under his tutelage was viewed with some suspicion.
His Passio di Venerdi di Venerdi di Santo displays a thorough appreciation of contemporary Genovese opera, with recitatives reserved for the dramatic content as was the fashion at the time. The arias therefore do not depict the drama and action, but relay rather vague emotions and feelings. His vocal writing requires agility, and the mocking chorus depicting the crowd reveal a theatrical yearning. The style is simple and the musical writing is linear, but the overall effect is one of delicate lyricism, and graceful but never excessive virtuosity.
This work was probably composed for Holy Week, and any religious establishment that boasted its own choir would often commission local composers to provide music for the services during this busy week. Sturla and his young choir would have been ideal candidates for such a task.
• Recording made in Genoa in 2006
• World premiere recording
• Period instruments
• Booklet notes and sung texts