Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Tue, 28 Jun 2022 07:12:18 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Bononcini - Polifemo (1987) Bononcini - Polifemo (1987)

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1. Part I
2. Part II
3. Part III
4. Part IV
5. Part V
6. Part VI

Polifemo - Hans-Christian Ziegler (bass)
Acis - Gerd Türk (tenor)
Galatea - Martina Bovet (soprano)
Glauco - Akira Tachikawa (countertenor)italian comp-oser
Silla - Nadja Ragni (alto)
Circe - Regina Jacobi (mezzo-soprano)
Venus - Gundula Anders (soprano)

Schola Cantorum Basiliensis
Rene Jacobs - conductor

Berlin 8.7.1987.


As far as the opera of the baroque is concerned, most attention has been given to the operas by Handel. Only recently the dramatic works of composers like Alessandro Scarlatti and Antonio Vivaldi is paid attention to. So far the operas by Giovanni Battista Bononcini seem to have escaped the interest of conductors and directors. It is therefore something special when an opera by Bononcini is performed, as was the case last week in Utrecht and Amsterdam. It was the Dutch conductor Jos van Veldhoven, artistic director of the Netherlands Bach Society, who conducted the Utrechts Barok Consort (UBC) in two performances of Bononcini's opera Polifemo, which was first performed in Berlin in 1702.

It was not the first time Van Veldhoven paid tribute to the qualities of this neglected master of the Italian baroque. Previously he performed the opera Il trionfo di Camilla (first in an abridged edition in 1995, then complete in 1997), and only last year he conducted the UBC in Bononcini's oratorio San Nicola di Bari.

Polifemo is a pastoral play, which is based on Ovid's Metamorphoses. Two separate stories from book XII are combined here. There is Polifemo, who is in love with the sea nymph Galatea. But she rejects him in favour of the shepherd Aci.

On the other hand we have Silla and Glauco. The sorceress Circe is in love with the sea god Glauco and obstructs his attempts to win the heart of the nymph Silla.

Remarkably Polifemo doesn't get that much attention in this opera. His role is limited, but he is brilliantly portrayed as a simple, straightforward and one-dimensional character, and until the very end, when he kills his rival, he is much more comical than frightening. This is reflected in the music: his arias are rather unsophisticated and simple (in particular the strophic aria 'Dieci vacche'). And the aria 'Vanarella, pazzarella' would not be out of place in an intermezzo. In contrast, Circe, the other evil character in this opera, gets much more attention. Whereas Polifemo is turning to brute force to get what he wants, she uses tricks to turn Glauco's attention away from Silla and win his heart. One of the highlights of the opera is her rage aria 'Pensiero di vendetta'. Another beautiful moment is the duet of Aci and Galatea 'Č cara la pena', with the voices imitating each other.

Having heard Polifemo one wonders why it hasn't been performed more often. And if this opera is representative of Bononcini's dramatic oeuvre, then certainly a Bononcini revival would be very worthwhile.

This opera is full of great and expressive arias. In most arias the singer is supported by basso continuo only, sometimes with additional melody instruments. In some the cello does play a prominent role, perhaps reflecting the fact that Bononcini himself was a professional cellist. Other arias feature two recorders, one or two oboes (the oboe parts in Silla's aria 'Soccorrete e non tardate' are gorgeous) or a solo violin (Galatea's aria 'Cor contento fra catene' starts with a virtuoso violin solo). In many arias the strings only play in the concluding ritornello. A special effect is the pizzicato in the string basses in Glauco's aria 'Queste goccie', during which he pours a magic potion into the water which has given to him by Circe with the false pretext that it will make Silla falling in love with him. ---Johan van Veen,

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]]> (bluesever) Bononcini Giovanni Wed, 20 Mar 2019 15:45:04 +0000
Bononcini - San Nicola di Bari (2011) Bononcini - San Nicola di Bari (2011)

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1.Part I: Sinfonia	2:30
2.Part I: Recitative: Figlio, la via del Cielo (Giovanna)	1:28
3.Part I: Aria: Augellino, che levasi a volo (Giovanna)	2:40
4.Part I: Recitative: Mia Genitrice (San Nicola)	0:47
5.Part I: Aria: E fiorito il sentier (San Nicola)	2:56
6.Part I: Recitative: Nicola? A' cenni tuoi (Epifanio, San Nicola)	0:50
7.Part I: Aria: Per godere un diletto (Epifanio)	2:36
8.Part I: Recitative: Padre? Che chiedi? (San Nicola, Epifanio)	0:50
9.Part I: Aria: All'Uomo fan guerra (San Nicola)	0:52
10.Part I: Recitative: Di si degna vittoria (Epifanio)	0:24
11.Part I: Aria: Se cinto di costanza (Epifanio)	1:52
12.Part I: Recitatuve: Giovanna? Mio consorte? (Epifanio, Giovanna, San Nicola)	0:55
13.Part I: Aria: M'incateni, e si mi sciogli (San Nicola)	3:44
14.Part I: Recitative: Sempre Madre amorosa (Giovanna)	0:58
15.Part I: Aria: A girar (Giovanna)	1:49
16.Part I: Recitative: Scolpisce il tuo desio (San Nicola, Giovanna)		1:00
17.Part I: Aria: Un dolce affetto (Giovanna)3:44
18.Part I: Recitative: Stelle, deh non ardete (Giovanna)	0:52
19.Part I: Aria: Tutto fiamme (Clizio)		2:09
20.Part I: Recitative: Ma qui giunge Nicola (Clizio, San Nicola)	0:56
21.Part I: Aria: Il diletto e una Sirena (San Nicola)	2:18
22.Part I: Recitative: Entro a dotto Liceo (San Nicola, Clizio)	1:02
23.Part I: Aria: Anche il Cielo (Clizio)	1:56
24.Part I: Recitative: Al misero Vivente (San Nicola, Clizio)	0:57
25.Part I: Aria: Io non vuo (San Nicola)	2:31
26.Part II: Recitative: Il diletto? (Clizio, San Nicola)	2:07
27.Part II: Aria: D'un bel ciglio (San Nicola)	4:22
28.Part II: Recitative: Piu d'ogni vezzo (Clizio, San Nicola)	1:23
29.Part II: Aria: Anima infida (Clizio)	2:43
30.Part II: Recitative: Son gl'interni disastri (Clizio, San Nicola, Giovanna)	2:09
31.Part II: Aria: Di tue flebili pupille (Giovanna)	3:45
32.Part II: Recitative: Clizio, non far (Epifanio, Clizio)	1:10
33.Part II: Aria: Fan temer l'Onde (Epifanio)		2:27
34.Part II: Recitative: Sento dentro al mio petto (Clizio)	1:03
35.Part II: Aria: Raggio eterno (Clizio)	3:17
36.Part II: Recitative: O come la tua fronte (San Nicola)	0:40
37.Part II: Aria: Gli Astri, che in Ciel scintillano (San Nicola)	2:20
38.Part II: Recitative: Se in eta cosi acerba (Clizio, Giovanna)	0:57
39.Part II: Aria: So, che sdegna (Giovanna)	3:03
40.Part II: Recitative: Sempre del mio desio (San Nicola, Epifanio)	0:44
41.Part II: Aria: Ancor nel primo albore (Epifanio)	1:21
42.Part II: Recitative: Madre? Mio Genitor? (San Nicola, Giovanna, Epifanio)	0:40
43.Part II: Aria: Al pensiero lusinghiero (San Nicola)	2:08
44.Part II: Recitative: Figlio, se in tanta pugna (Giovanna)	1:02
45.Part II: Duet: Quando il Cielo (Giovanna, San Nicola)	1:19

Lavinia Bertotti, Elena Cecchi Fedi (sopranos)
Gabriella Martellacci (alto)
Furio Zanasi (bass)
Les Muffatti (ensemble)
Peter van Heyghen (conductor)


Giovanni Battista Bononcini (1670-1747) was an Italian composer who for period of his working life lived in London, where for a time his popularity rivaled Handel's. His output includes operas, anthems and masses. His oratorio ‘San Niocola di Bari’ dates from around 1693 and uses the large forces of soloists, choir and orchestra. Another welcome discovery from Ramee.


Saint Nicholas is one of the best-known saints, but his reputation today as a friend of children hardly reflects his role in the history of the church. In pieces of music in which he plays a role it is mostly his many miracles which is given attention to. The oratorio which is presented here is different in that it concentrates on the youth of Saint Nicholas who is modelled as an examplary son to his parents. The story is simple: Nicholas prepares for a journey to study in Egypt and Palestine. It is shown how harmonious the relationship with his parents is, and how hard his mother takes it to let him go. Nicholas also has chosen the path of virtue and is determined to resist all worldly temptations. As a kind of opposite number the librettist is introducing Clizio, a fellow student who enjoys worldly pleasures. During the oratorio Nicholas is able to make him see the errors of his ways and Clizio shows repentance.

The oratorio was first performed in 1693 in Rome. The libretto was written by Silvio Stampiglia, who Bononcini met in the circle of the Colonna family. Filippo II Colonna was Great Constable of the Vice-Kingdom of Naples which was ruled by Spain. In Rome several churches were devoted to Spanish saints, and in one of these, San Giacomo degli Spagnoli, the first performance took place. The addition 'di Bari' in the title of the oratorio can be explained by the fact that the bones of Saint Nicholas were brought to the Italian town of Bari at Sicily in 1087. Soon the town and later the whole island accepted Saint Nicholas as their patron saint. At the time the oratorio was performed Bari was under Spanish rule.

The oratorio was one of Giovanni Bononcini's most successful work which resulted from the collaboration with Stampiglia. It was performed several times during Bononcini's lifetime. The character of the work and its spiritual message were in line with what was the goal of the oratorio in those days: to convince the audience to follow the path of virtue. In the booklet Peter Van Heyghen explains that the message isn't even exclusively Christian, as it also appears in the writings of philosophers like Descartes, Spinoza and Kircher: "the main point is always the dualism between body and soul in general, and the exploration of the human emotions in particular. The ideal state of mind that humans need to seek out is virtue, which can only be attained when the spirit remains in control of the body, when free will, an attribute of the spirit, is not troubled by emotions, attributes of the body; on when the foundation of human behavior is ultimately reason, which is inspired by God, and not affect (emotions), which is only worldly." This seems to me an important key to understand the way oratorios like this are written. It also explains the presence of Clizio, who - unlike Saint Nicholas - has no historical foundation. Clizio is the character who is led by emotions, and whom is brought to reason by Nicholas.

In the extensive and splendid programme notes Peter Van Heyghen goes into many details in regard to the background of both libretto and music. He also gives a number of examples of the way Bononcini has set the text to music. Everybody who is going to listen to this work is well advised to read these notes carefully, as they are a great help to understand the content of this work.

Bononcini had a reputation for text expression through musical means, and that was well-deserved as this oratorio impressively demonstrates. There are many things which strike the ear, like the role of the instruments in depicting the images in the text, for instance the movements of the bee or the fluttering of the bird, or a thunderstorm. Musical figures are used to express emotions in the text, and the same is true for dance rhythms, including sarabanda - here used because of its "origin in hell" as Cervantes put it - and the tarantella. The arias are various in form; some use the dacapo form, but most are without reprise and some are strophic. In many arias the voice is only supported by the basso continuo, whereas the strings play the ritornelli. The arias are not very long - none lasts more than 4 minutes - and the recitatives are also pretty concise. This gives the oratorio considerable pace, although the story in itself is not very dramatic.

Hopefully this description gives some idea about the quality of this oratorio. Fortunately none of the many virtues of this work is passing by unnoticed in this performance. At first I was a little sceptical about the interpretations of the two sopranos but it didn't take long before I started to enjoy the way they portrayed their respective characters. The many beautiful arias they have to sing come off splendidly, and their voices are just different enough to tell them apart. The emotions of Giovanna when her son is about to leave are impressively expressed by Elena Cecchi Fedi. Lavinia Bertotti does very well in Nicholas' dialogue with Clizio. Gabriella Martellacci has a dark voice, and is perhaps more suitable to the repenting Clizio than to the Clizio who sings the praise of worldly pleasures. She could probably have been a bit more joyful in that episode. Furio Zanasi gives a very good account of the role of Nicholas' father Epifanio, showing the right kind of authority but at the same time the sensitivity his role requires.

The orchestra is excellent throughout; every effect Bononcini has included in his score is fully explored. The basso continuo section deserves much praise for the very dynamic, imaginative and differentiated realisation of their part. And, as I already mentioned, the programme notes are exemplary: they are very informative and well-written, and also well translated into English.

In short, this is a production of the highest order, and definitely going to be one of my discs of the year. ---Johan van Veen,

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]]> (bluesever) Bononcini Giovanni Sat, 01 Sep 2018 13:23:42 +0000
Bononcini Family - Valeriano in Carcere (1999) Bononcini Family - Valeriano in Carcere (1999)

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1	Astarto, opera: Ouverture			
2	Astarto, opera: Atto 1. Aria di Fenicio: Sě perirŕ e avrŕ dalle nostr'armi			
3	Astarto, opera: Atto 2. Aria di Fenicio: Mi veggo solo e vinto			
4	Astarto, opera: Atto 3. Aria di Fenicio: Disciolte dal piede			
5	Valeriano in Carcere			
6	La Decollazione di Giovanni Battista: Sinfonia			
7	La Decollazione di Giovanni Battista: Parte 1. Aria di Erode: Tutto attento il sol mirai	
8	Quattro Arie: L'interesse sol prevale			
9	Quattro Arie: Non c'č affetto			
10	Quattro Arie: L'amicizia si tradisce			
11	Quattro Arie: Non si stimano che gli ori			
12	La Maddalena ai Piedi di Cristo: Sinfonia. Parte 2. Recitativo e Aria di Christo		
13	La Maddalena ai Piedi di Cristo: Recitativo: Tu che qual cerva			
14	La Maddalena ai Piedi di Cristo: Aria: Il tuo foco a poco a poco			
15	Ercole All'Inferno

Antonio Abete – Bass
Ensemble Arcadia
Attilio Cremonesi – conductor


The Bononcini family were string players and composers with an established reputation. Giovanni Maria Bononcini (1642-78, the father) studied the violin and composition, and his own trio sonatas are considered important precursors of Corelli's op 1-4. His musical treatise - Musico prattico - circulated widely and influenced such later writers as J.G. Walther and Mattheson. He also left cantatas, a volume of madrigals and a later volume of trios.

Giovanni Battista Bononcini was born in Modena, Italy, in 1670, the eldest and most successful of three sons; he died Vienna in 1747.

Giovanni Battista trained as a cellist in Bologna, where he published two collections of trios (1685) and three of sinfonie (1685-7); he was a member of the Accademia Filarmonica, a musician at San Petronio (for which he composed two Lenten oratorios, 1687-8) and finally maestro di cappella at San Giovanni in Monte until 1689 - his four double-choir Masses, published in 1688 as op. 7, were composed for the services there.

From Bologna he went to Milan to take up a commission from the Duke of Modena, and then to Rome - via Bologna, where he played in Cardinal Pamphili's orchestra. While in the service of Filippo Colonna in Rome, Bononcini collaborated with the poet Silvio Stampiglia on six serenatas, an oratorio and five operas, of which the last, Il trionfo di Camilla, was the highlight of the 1696-7 Naples Carnival. By this time his operas were in production throughout Italy, and his opera Camilla was to be given 64 performances in London at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane between 1706 and1709, becoming the first Italian opera to gain popularity on the English stage (in part because it was sung in translation by English singers).

He had been recruited in 1698 to the court of Leopold I in Vienna, where he became a particular favorite of the heir Joseph who acceded the throne in 1705. Stampiglia, along with Bononcini's younger brother Antonio Maria (1677-1726) - also a cellist in Pamphili's orchestra and an opera composer - soon joined him in Vienna. After the death of Emperor Joseph I in 1711, Bononcini left the Viennese court for Rome. Here he remained until 1719 when he was invited to London by the Earl of Burlington to become a composer for the Royal Academy of Music under Handel's direction.

His operatic reputation having preceded him, Bononcini was warmly received in London where Astarto opened the second season at the King's Theatre in the Haymarket late in 1720, outshining Handel's own operas. The following year he contributed the second act (the first and third were by fellow cellist Filippo Amadei and Handel) to Muzio Scevola. L'odio e l'amore followed a month later at the Haymarket Theatre. He spent the summer of 1723 in Paris where he was offered a position by the regent's mistress and, indeed, spent the following summer there, along with singers (including the famous Cuzzoni) from London.

Bononcini returned to London, accepting a position as director of the private concerts of the Duchess of Marlborough, a position he held until 1731. In 1727 his opera Astianatte was presented at the Haymarket. He maintained his connections in France, visiting again in 1731 and then moving to Paris in 1733, where his music (including the Laudate pueri for voices and orchestra) was performed at the Concert Spirituel. 1735 saw him in Lisbon and by the middle of the following year he had arrived in Vienna where he remained until his death a decade later. During that time two of his operas and an oratorio were performed; his last known work is a Te Deum, commissioned by the empress in 1741.

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]]> (bluesever) Bononcini Giovanni Sat, 28 Dec 2013 16:53:31 +0000
Giovanni Bononcini - La Nemica D'Amore Fatta Amante - Serenata a 3 (2004) Giovanni Bononcini - La Nemica D'Amore Fatta Amante - Serenata a 3 (2004)

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01. La Nemica D'Amore Fatta Amante
02. Sinfonia: Adagio - Allegro - Adagio E Piano
03. Rezitativ: Io Che D'Amore Nemica
04. Arie: Tormentata L'Alma Mia
05. Rezitativ: Clori Perche Si Mesta					play
06. Arie: Prigionirea Di Finiti Legami
07. Rezitativ: Stimi Sognato Il Laccio
08. Arie: Disprezzami Cosi
09. Rezitativ: Non Puo Sprezzarti Un Che T'Adora
10. Arie - Duett: Per Te Peno... Per Te Moro
11. Rezitativ: Clori Barbara Clori
12. Arie: Alma Infida
13. Rezitativ: Hor Che Dentro Al Mio Petto
14. Arie: Solo Efelice
15. Rezitativ: L'Arco Del Nume Infante
16. Arie: Tacero Pupille Amate
17. Rezitativ: Era Tuo Vanto Un Giorno
18. Arie: Io Geloso? Crudele Tu Menti
19. Rezitativ: Ma Senti
20. Arie: Se Di Te Venivo Amante
21. Rezitativ: Dunque A Tua Voglia
22. Arie - Duett: Basta Il Tuo Fallo
23. Rezitativ: Non M'Ami, E Il Labro Tuo
24. Arie: Dal Bell'Idolo
25. Rezitativ: Vanne Fileno, E Impara					play
26. Arie: Per Far Scempio D'Un Core
27. Rezitativ: Se Estinto Vuoi Mi Rarmi
28. Arie: Quanto Sangue Ho Nel Mio Petto
29. Rezitativ: Or Che Non V'E Chi Osservi
30. Arie: Purti Riveggio Ancor
31. Rezitativ: Tirsi Vedesti Mai
32. Arie: Tortorella Innamorata
33. Rezitativ: Mio Tesero E Clori Mio Bene
34. Arie: Se Un Gran Piacere Puo Far Morire
35. Rezitativ: Morir Paventi?
36. Arie: Chi D'Amore Disprezza Il Dardo

Clori - Adriana Fernandez - soprano
Tirsi - Martin Oro - contratenor
Fileno - Furio Zanasi - barítone

Orchestra: Ensemble 415
Chiara Banchini – conductor


Giovanni Bononcini(Modena 1670-Vienna 1747) is best known today for his dozen years in London, which began when he was 50 and Handel was 35. Five years later a well-known epigram likened them to Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee. Bononcini established his fame in the 1690's by composing more than 200 solo cantatas; six serenatas, each of which had 3 or 4 characters and in addition wrote five complete operas.

In 1692 Bonancini was employed by the Colonna family in Rome, which proved to be a turning point in his life, for there he met Silvio Stampiglia,who became his librettist. This resulted in 6 Serenatas, one of which is on this disc.. Together they also wrote 5 operas and an oratorio. These works made Bonancini's name as a composer and man of the theatre.

This music is in the form of a Serenata for three voices. The Serenata was a new type of cantata developed by Bononcini and A. Scarlatti. The 3 voices are: Soprano (Clori}sung by Adriana Fernandez,countertenor{Tirsi)sung by Martin Oro and Baritone (Fileno) sung by Furio Zanasi. The story is basically a love triangle with both men loving Clori. It's absolutely charming and delightful in every way.

Clori, who is 'The Enemy of Love' refuses to relinquish her highly prized liberty. The complete score of this work does not survive, but one copy of the libretto is extant. There is however, a dedication for this work, written by Bononicini in which he requests a favorable reception for the 'poor sheperdess' (Clori). Such pastoral contexts were highly favored, since they embodied the ideals of the Arcadian Academy founded in Rome in 1690.

The essence of Stampiglia's drama, brought forth by Bononcini'c music, is marvelously conveyed by the Ensemble 415's rendition (13 players) . The use of the Archlute at the opening playing dreamily for a brief time creates the perfect effect for the entering of the Ensemble and the first complete chord. There is no doubt that Clori (sop.Adrian Fernandez) is the fascinating focus of this work (7 arias,2 duets), while Tirsi (Martin Oro, Countertenor), whom she loves, has only 3 arias and l duet; and Fileno (Furio Zanasi-baritone), whom she repels, has 3 arias and 1 duet.

Adriana and her Buenos Aires compatriot, Martin Oro, add ornamentation judiciously with a magical, if at times a bit rapidly, floating quality. Oro's arias are all moderately slow effectively conveying the dramatic function of each one. Zanasi sings his rapidly paced arias powerfully, each one filled with high drama, entering furiously with periodical jealous outbursts until he angrily departs with an invective-filled aria. Thus he and Oro are at opposite ends of the pole and vocal production.

The singers do justice to the drama , and the singing is par excellence. There is an especially rich orchestral accompaniment with good balance between the singers and the orchestra. Bononcini took special pains to bring out the solo instruments, as in the arias of Clori, which is accompanied by a solo violin and Tirsi which features a solo on the cello. It's all incredibly beautiful and the voice of Martin Oro is divine!

In 2003, when this serenata was 310 years old, it was given this 'most sumptuous' recording by Ensemble 415. It truly belongs to the collections of all who enjoy renditions of melodically, harmonically and texturally rich works composed near the end of the splendid 17th century. The album is beautifully packaged and includes pertinent information as well as the text in Italian, French, English and German. --- George Peabody "Ariel" (U.S.A.)

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]]> (bluesever) Bononcini Giovanni Tue, 22 Nov 2011 10:12:14 +0000