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Gaffi: La forza del divino amore
Alessandro Stradella, Tommaso Bernardo Gaffi, Antonio Frige
Gaffi: La forza del divino amore
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (41) - Disc #1


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CD Reviews

Excellent Rediscovery
CMC | Italy | 10/20/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As we had the chance to hear in concert in Italy twice in 2003, the excellent rediscovery of this oratorium by Antonio Frige' is a really must in any respectable baroque cd collection.
This oratiorio by the roman author Bernardo Gaffi is an interesting chain ring in between the ancient roman school and the beginning of the italian opera style: Gaffi seems to be a very cultivated composer, which knows very well counterpoint and who is capable of forging a style that looks towards the future, without forgetting the past.
The intersting realisation of the continuo part in the recitatives (a different instrument is accompained to any character) shows the use of ha Baroque harp as a plucked instrument (instead of the more common theorbo or lute) and gives to Divine Love (Amor Divino) a touch of heaven.
The vocal performance is interesting as well, due to the different characters of the voices: Leona Peleskova has a deep velvet voice (maybe a bit lyric-oriented), while Marivi Blasco shows a glazing baroque timbre that makes her able to fly over the instruments (and we have to notice even her care and fantasy in improvising cadenzas and embellishments). Sergio Foresti is surely a name which does not need to be introduced; his performance is clear and quite remarkable as well.
The ensemble Pian & Forte has recorded more or less 20 records, all under the remarkable conduction of its founder Antonio Frigè, which delivers a precise performance, filled with precious details and nice surprises, always respecting the canons of a correct historically informed praxis. Maybe the best peculiarity of this record is in the light that shines all over it, a light that is really at home in baroque music, and which is too often hidden by an excessive virtuosity and somewhat violence by some period instruments ensembles.
A must-have, definitively."
The Competition Was Stiff ...
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 05/25/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"... for composers in Rome circa 1690, with Corelli and Scarlatti, Panini and Panetone and all them guys vying for the Arcadian attentions of padrones like Ottoboni, Pamphili, Cybo, and Ruspoli. Bernardo Gaffi must have been skillful indeed to have made the cut as a composer of innovative works for keyboard and of at least eight 'chamber' oratorios that were performed in Modena, Venice, and Vienna, as well as Rome. Either his inspiration or his patronage dried up, however, after 1700, though he lived to 1744. Perhaps it was the fresh face of Georg Friedrich Handel, the boy wonder of 1700-1710 or so, than snatched Pamphili and Co from poor Gaffi. It would be silly to suggest that Gaffi was a genius of the magnitude of Handel, and quite possibly he wasn't as adaptable as Scarlatti to changes in musical taste. This dramatic oratorio for three voices, with obbligato trumpet and violin, is a sprightly, inventive, expressive piece of music nonetheless, worthy of just the sort of excellent performance it receives from Ensemble Pian & Forte.

"La Forza del divino amore" tells of an 'imagined' episode in the life of Santa Teresa of Avila, the Carmelite mystic. The characters of Teresa, her brother Rodrigo, and the allegorical figure of Divine Love. Teresa is determined to go as a missionary to Africa, in full expectation of martyrdom, but Divine Love persuades her that her true mission is in Spain. As you might expect, such a dialogue provides ample musical grounds for agony and ecstasy. The use of a trumpet in a chamber oratorio, musicologists have declared, was 'unknown' in Gaffi's time, but clearly Signore gaffi was reading musicological journals. His trumpet obbligato is brilliantly idiomatic and rousing, affording baroque trumpeter Gabriele Cassone a grand opportunity to prove that a natural valveless horn CAN be played fluently and tunefully. In fact, the trumpet "fireworks" are worth the price of the CD alone. But the voices of sopranos Leona Pelekovska nd Marivi Blasco are just as agile, expressive, and well-tuned as the trumpet, and basso Sergio Foresti has a timbre that makes those notes below the bass clef as beautiful as birdsong.

You can get an idea of this CD from the samples. Buy it for the novelty, if you will, but I predict you'll appreciate it for the workmanship of the music and the brilliance of the performance."