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Most of his fifteen known operas are lost and those which survive are rarely heard , as are the majority of his oratorios and cantatas. It took a legal document in to free son from domineering father. In his sacred music Domenico showed elements of the harmonic richness and melodic individuality which flood his later keyboard writing, but the main features of his settings of emotive sacred texts are tuneful melodies which mix religious deference with occasional elements of the opera.
This readily approachable style is nonetheless underpinned by a sound compositional technique. Three appear on this disc. Usually that instrumental backing is of strings, but occasionally his works also require recorders or trumpets.
Su le sponde del Tebro contains a particularly demanding part for obbligato trumpet, playing in a high tessitura which suggests that there was a fine player around with the considerable stamina required to play the arias which partner soprano with trumpet. The story is the classically despondent one of unrequited love, and the form the usual alternation of arias and recitatives prefaced by a short sinfonia. He seems to have transferred from singing to composition around , when he travelled to Italy and eventually settled in Naples for six years.
His operas became extremely popular with Italian audiences while his arias were thought to be excellent vehicles for vocal displays. Hasse also maintained a great following in the opera at Dresden and eventually his work was much acclaimed in Vienna. Amongst a huge compositional output there are at least thirteen settings of the Salve regina attributed to Hasse.
The most famous of these is in A major and was published in London in , but the one recorded here is a later, unpublished version dated Its style is distinctly operatic, mixing an attractive simplicity of melody with florid instrumental and vocal lines which are always eminently suited to the voice. Gesture too is often to the fore, and the score is liberally sprinkled with changes of dynamics, often pianos interspersed with sudden fortes.
The first movement is elegantly melodic, with expressive, melismatic vocal phrases set over an attractive orchestral accompaniment which is reminiscent of Pergolesi. The first aria is set over a walking bass, above which the violins alternate lachrymose suspensions with more conversational dialogue, whilst the voice rarely rises above despair. The last aria is upbeat, with shorter phrases passed between singer and instrumentalists: our lover sees hope triumphing. The final movement completes the delightfully pastoral scene, with a lilting melody accompanied by orchestral drones.
Here is one of the most charming of all baroque representations of the shepherds at the manger, worshipping the little baby Jesus. Trois figurent dans cet enregistrement. Der erste Satz ist von eleganter Melodik mit ausdrucksvollen, melismatischen Gesangsphrasen vor ansprechender Orchesterbegleitung, die Pergolesi in Erinnerung ruft.
Scarlattis Manuskript zufolge wurde das Werk, dessen Einleitung der Komponist von einer eher klagenden Warte aus mit einer Begleitung zweier Violinen gestaltet, im Oktober geschrieben.
Dies ist einer der zauberhaftesten aller barocken Darstellungen der das kleine Christkind anbetenden Hirten an der Krippe.
Domenico Scarlatti: Sacred Choral Works