Porpora: Passio

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Stile Galante/Stefano Aresi Pan Classics PC 10243 ****

Nicola Porpora (1686-1768) was a rival to Handel and won the admiration of Haydn. But he’s become stereotyped as a writer of bravura arias, for which he has been famously celebrated by the great Cecilia Bartoli. The Porpora represented here is a composer of a different cut entirely. The six duets, “to be sung on Lent Fridays in the Chapel of His Most Serene Highness, the Electoral Prince of Saxony”, date from 1754, and are written in a range of musical styles, from the severe to the virtuosically demonstrative, as if Porpora wanted to summarise the reach of his compositional achievements in a single work. They are probingly performed by the singers of the Italian group Stile Galante (sopranos Emanuela Galli and Francesca Cassinari, alto Marina De Liso and baritone Fulvio Bettini), and the disc also includes two instrumental fugues and an anonymous Neapolitan Misererefrom the 18th century. See url.ie/cc8d

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