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Donald Macleod explores Stradella's family tree, which has noble connections that can be traced back to the powerful Medicis in Florence and to the papacy in Rome.

Donald Macleod explores the life and music of composer Alessandro Stradella, a man whose colourful life matches the brilliance of his music.

Alessandro Stradella's life ended abruptly when he was stabbed in the street at the age of just 42. By this time he had weathered a whole series of scandals revolving around dodgy business deals, an affair with his patron's mistress and an almost fatal beating by two thugs. Posthumously these events so captured the public imagination they were reinterpreted in a popular novel and in an opera bearing Stradella's name by Friedrich von Flotow. However, dramatising his life has unfairly skewed the focus away from his musical achievements. In fact Stradella was a highly respected and successful composer. He wrote in all the genres of the period, oratorios, cantatas, theatre music, serious opera, songs, sacred music, and instrumental music - all in all amounting to over 300 compositions. His musical language was innovative and ahead of its time. He produced one of the earliest known comic operas as well as writing the first datable work scored for concerto grosso instrumentation in 1674, well before Corelli produced his famous opus 6 set.

Today Donald Macleod looks at Stradella's family tree, which has noble connections that can be traced back to the powerful Medicis in Florence and to the Papacy in Rome. It was through these roots and his father's connections that Stradella was first able to make an impression in Rome, the seat of the Pope and an important centre of musical activity.

1 hour

Last on

Mon 3 Nov 2014 18:30

Music Played

  • Alessandro Stradella

    Il Barcheggio - serenata (cantata) G/Mc.1.4-5 for SAB, hn, 2 vn & bc

    Director: Antonio Frige. Ensemble: Pian'e Forte Ensemble.
    • Chaconne.
  • Alessandro Stradella

    Sonata in D major G/Mc.26 for trumpet, 8 strings & bc

    Orchestra: The Parley of Instruments. Performer: Crispian Steele‐Perkins. Director: Peter Holman.
    • Hyperion.
  • Friedrich Freiherr von Flotow

    Alessandro Stradella - opera

    Orchestra: Zurich Radio Orchestra. Singer: Rolando Villazón. Conductor: Michel Plasson.
    • Virgin Classics.
  • Alessandro Stradella

    Chare Jesu suavissime - motet for 3 voices, 2 violins and bc

    Singer: Gérard Lesne. Ensemble: Il Seminario Musicale. Singer: Sandrine Piau.
    • VIRGIN.
  • Alessandro Stradella

    San Giovanni Battista - extracts

    Singer: Gérard Lesne. Director: Marc Minkowski. Ensemble: Les Musiciens du Louvre.
    • ERATO.
  • Alessandro Stradella

    San Giovanni Battista - Aria concerto grosso, Sorde dive, ch ai mortali

    Singer: Catherine Bott.
    • ERATO.
  • Alessandro Stradella

    San Giovanni Battista - oratorio G/Mc.3-3 for SSATB & orch

    Singer: Philippe Huttenlocher. Singer: Gérard Lesne. Singer: Catherine Bott. Singer: Richard Edgar‐Wilson.
    • ERATO.

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