Au début du XVIIIème siècle en Italie, la Cantate joue un rôle analogue à celui du Madrigal un siècle plus tôt : un laboratoire central pour toutes les expérimentations, dans tous les champs d’expression musicale. De cela, le public actuel n’a pas vraiment conscience : le répertoire est encore largement inédit, dormant dans les manuscrits des bibliothèques ; le maître de la Cantate, comme de toute la vocalité italienne à la fin du XVIIe et au début du XVIIIe siècle, n’est autre qu’Alessandro Scarlatti, auteur d’au moins 600 pièces de ce type… / The two fascinating works from which this recording takes its name are at the heart of an equally fascinating collection of cantatas composed by Alessandro Scarlatti, which the author himself dubbed human and inhuman. At the beginning of the eighteenth century the Italian cantata played much the same role as the madrigal a century before: that of a “laboratory” encouraging a variety of bold experiments with musical expression. Many thousands of manuscripts lying in libraries and archives attest to the immense popularity of the cantata in its heyday (and there are undoubtedly many more still awaiting rediscovery!), yet today only the very tip of this artistic iceberg has been touched. The master of the cantata, as indeed of all early Settecento “vocalità”, was Alessandro Scarlatti, who produced some six hundred such pieces..

 

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La Cantate baroque, par excellence destinée aux connaisseurs, relève de l’esthétique de la pastorale, héritée de la Renaissance et chère aux cercles aristocratiques romains – mécènes des familles Ottoboni, Pamphili, Ruspoli, ou la première patronne de Scarlatti, Christine de Suède, figure tutélaire de l’Académie de l’Arcadie…

An elegant, sophisticated entertainment intended for a public of connoisseurs, the cantata stems from the pastoral of antiquity, which was revived during the Renaissance with its craze for that period, and was much beloved of Rome’s highly cultivated nobility. The palaces of the Ruspoli, Ottoboni and Pamphili, the most eminent Roman households, were the setting for cantata performances, as were the meetings of the Arcadian Academy under the patronage of Queen Christina of Sweden, Scarlatti’s first patron.

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