Reliquie di Roma II: Cara Sposo


Atalante/Erin Headley, Nimbus Alliance NI 6185 *****

Atalante continue their exploration of little-known 17th-century Roman music celebrating the heroines of antiquity. Just as Handel would later do in London, Marco Marazzoli (1602-62), an experienced opera composer, turned to oratorio when opportunities to stage operas in Rome dried up. His Oratorio di Santa Caterina, which Headley describes as the “crowning culmination” of his output, survives in only one, not-quite- intact source. The reconstruction sounds utterly persuasive, the style rich and elaborate even though the instrumental forces are light – two violins with a continuo of harpsichord and arpa doppia plus viola da gamba or lirone, the latter a chord-playing stringed instrument of which Erin Headley is a leading exponent. Sopranos Nadine Balbeisi (the narrator) and Katherine Wilson (Caterina) lead a strong team of soloists in a gripping performance. See