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This week... I have been mostly listening to...
on 26 April 2016
...Antonio Caldara. This is one of those discs which after the first few listenings I rather unjustly forgot about as a result of a regular flow of new purchases also demanding attention. Back in 2010 when this was released there were still relatively few Caldara recordings knocking about. Before this I think there was the sum total of one oratorio and one disc of cantatas from Mr C in my collection. Fortunately there has been more interest in Caldara recently and a number of other discs have been released in the past few years covering oratorios, sacred music, a requiem, cantatas, serenatas and opera arias (but sadly no full opera that I have seen), which have made me 'rediscover' this recording which I have been playing frequently alongside some of the more recent offerings. Caldara was a chief composer at the Viennese court for 20 years and his prolific operatic output was central to court ceremonial, and this disc is a representative sample of arias from the operas written and performed in those two decades as part of the Emperor and Empress's birthday and name day celebrations as well as the court Carnival festivities.
Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky surely needs no introduction, and his delicacy serves Caldara's refined music well, ably supported by the instruments of Concerto Köln under the direction of Emmanuelle Haïm. The disc comes in a beautifully presented hardback booklet with many colour and black & white reproductions of contemporary paintings and drawings, and an excellent and sizeable essay on "The Sublime Caldara", plus libretti with translations.