The generation of Roman composers after Monteverdi, led by Luigi Rossi and Marco Marazzoli, intensified the rich and rhetorically powerful poetry of their contemporaries to create a new musical aesthetic that was sensual, passionate, ecstatic, even erotic. Rossi and Marazzoli produced sacred and secular operas and oratorios, and vocal chamber music, of which their combined output of solo and ensemble cantatas numbers over 700.
Rossi was the leading composer of 17th-century bel canto, the new elegant and lyrical style of melodic writing and ultra expressive recitative that was a reaction to the earlier, text-dominated stilo rappresentativo. The triple-time arias in particular are full of his unmistakable suavity. However, in his lament of the Magdalene, Rossi conveys the penitent’s torturous spiritual and sensual journey almost entirely through extravagant recitative. Only a brief aria, whose long-awaited arrival comes near the end, delivers the poignant moment of resignation and final despair.
Erin Headley’s sensational new group Atalante is named in honour of Leonardo da Vinci’s friend and pupil Atalante Migliorotti, inventor of the lirone. That magic and ethereal bowed instrument has been Erin Headley’s domain for the past 30 years, through an astonishing number of performances and recordings that have been acclaimed worldwide.
Awards Issue 2011
“It takes a very special skill to be able to convey in a single disc the range of moods - passionate, sensual, macabre and erotic - that these four composers evoke in their music but, guided by the graceful Erin Headly, the musicians of Atalante achieve it with spectacular success...Balbeisi has a voice of extraordinary purity...Baka, on the other hand, brings considerable warmth and potent dramatic presence”
16th December 2011
“The laments - long and involved plaints of widows, Mary Magdalene and, in Marazzoli's "Cadute erano al fine", an aged Helen Of Troy contemplating her decrepitude ("For you, Helen, Troy was vanquished?"), are sensually melancholy, indulgences in heightened emotions.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.