In Memoriam Claudio Scimone (1934-2018)
Recorded in Padua's awe-inspiring Palazzo della Ragione, Tomaso Albinoni's serenata teatrale "Il Concilio dei Pianeti" is performed here in its first stage production in modern times by the great Baroque ensemble I Solisti Veneti under its founder and principal conductor Claudio Scimone.
The Solisti Veneti – one of the world's leading chamber orchestras specialized in historical performance practice – were among the first to rediscover the beauty and richness of Albinoni's vocal music. The "theatrical serenade" was conceived from the start as a stage work as presented in this performance. Recitatives, arias, duets, choruses are sung by allegorical figures representing Eternity (soprano), Jupiter (mezzo-soprano) and Mars (tenor). Written in 1729 for the birth of the Dauphin of France, the piece was conceived as a celebratory work to mark the happy occasion.
The "Council of the Planets" could not have found a better location than Padua's Palazzo della Ragione, which is decorated with frescoes from the 15th century depicting the signs of the Zodiac, liberal arts, professions, etc. Occupying pride of place in the 80-meter long "salone" is a wooden horse built in 1466 and attributed to Donatello.
Following a practice common in Albinoni's day, conductor Claudio Scimone inserts "three stupendous arias" (Scimone) that were written by Albinoni in 1710, but were not part of the "Concilio". The practice was intended to awaken interest in a new work by inserting already well-known pieces within it – a subtle but presumably effective form of Baroque self-advertising!
Tomaso Albinoni (1671-1751)
♪ Il Concilio dei Pianeti (Serenata a tre voci) (1729)
Serenata in due tempi
Libretto: Girolamo Baruffaldi
Eternità..........Chiara Taigi, soprano
Giove..........Laura Brioli, mezzo-soprano
Marte..........José Luis Sola, tenor
I Solisti Veneti
Conductor: Claudio Scimone
Stage direction, choreography, costumes and lights by Stefano Poda
Video direction by Mauro Santini and Tiziano Mancini
On September 6, 2018, we sadly lost another pioneer of the early music movement. Claudio Scimone, a student of Dimitri Mitropoulos and Franco Ferrara, was primarily known as the founder of the string ensemble "I Solisti Veneti". Together with Neville Marriner's "Academy of St Martin-in-the-Fields", he stood at the forefront of fresh and bouncy interpretations of the Italian Baroque repertoire, offering leaner textures, and more animated tempos.
Scimone and "I Solisti" made over 350 recordings, and they appeared in roughly 6,000 concerts all over the world. Celebrating its 50 anniversary in 2008, the European Parliament honored the Orchestra as "ambassadors of culture and music across the borders". Incredibly, Scimone conducted almost all concerts and recordings with the ensemble, but he never pandered to the limelight. Instead, the gentle and unassuming conductor and musicologist focused on reviving lost Italian works by doing all the research and publication work in order to bring unknown compositions to the public.
The first modern recording of Vivaldi's 1727 "Orlando Furioso" with Marilyn Horne and Victoria de los Ángeles took place in Verona in 1977. This performance generated great public and scholarly excitement for Vivaldi's theatrical works, and Scimone followed up his success with revivals of "Il Nascimento dell'Aurora", "Il Concilio dei Pianeti", and the intermezzo "Pimpinone" by Tomaso Albinoni.
As one of the collaborators of the Rossini Foundation, Scimone conducted and recorded among others, the first modern performances of Rossini's "Mosè in Egitto", and "Maometto II". Further musicological research resulted in the publication of the first modern edition of the violin concertos and sonatas of Giuseppe Tartini. And let's not forget that he conducted the first recording of Muzio Clementi's Symphonies with the Philharmonia of London. Scimone is also the author of an acclaimed treatise on performing practice, and he kept commissioning works by up-and-coming composers. One of the most respected musicologists researching Italian music from the end of the Renaissance through Rossini, Scimone was always passionate about passing on his excitement to the next generation. For almost thirty years he was the Director of the Padua Conservatory of Music, and he quietly shared his love, devotion and passion for music.
Source: Georg Predota, September 12, 2018 (interlude.hk)
Born in Venice in 1671, Tomaso Albinoni was the eldest son of a wealthy paper merchant who owned several shops in Venice. It is not known who Albinoni's teachers were – though Legrenzi's name has been suggested – but we do know that Tomaso took both violin and singing lessons. With his inherited family wealth, Albinoni found no need to take a musical job in the church or at court: his independent means enabled him to remain a dilettante. His intentions were, however, quite clearly to devote himself to music, for on his father's death he effectively relinquished managerial control of the family business, though he continued for a short while to receive a share of the profits. In 1721 the business was taken over, after a lawsuit, by an old creditor of his father, and Albinoni's private income all but ceased.
Albinoni first came to prominence as a composer in 1694 in the opera house, where his melodic style proved highly popular. Over the next forty-seven years he wrote more than fifty operas, along with some thirty cantatas, around sixty sonatas and at least sixty concertos. Although some of Albinoni's music has been criticized as lacking in harmonic finesse, he was undoubtedly a remarkable melodist and, perhaps due to his rather isolated lifestyle, a highly individual composer.
Around 1740, a collection of Albinoni's violin sonatas was published in France as a posthumous work, and scholars long presumed that meant that Albinoni had died by that time. However, it appears he lived on in Venice in obscurity; a record from the parish of San Barnaba indicates Tomaso Albinoni died in Venice in 1751, of diabetes mellitus.
Source: Robert King, 1990 (hyperion-records.co.uk) / en.wikipedia.org
Vivaldi Ma Non Solo: Marita Paparizou sings Antonio Vivaldi, George Frideric Handel & Ferdinando Bertoni – I Solisti Veneti, Claudio Scimone (Audio videos)