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Wednesday, September 15, 2004
  Cleofide, Act II, Scene 9: Digli ch’io son fedele
Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783)
Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music, CD 7 Tracks 7-10

It is a shame that the name “Faustina” is no longer popular with expecting parents. A woman with a name like that is likely to get what wants in life. Unlike Fracesca. Fracesca Cuzzoni, you may recall, was Faustina Bordoni’s sparring partner. While Faustina’s beauty and strength are projected through time by her adoring husband’s music, Fracesca ended life as a lonely button saleswoman.

There are many cases where a composer should share the credit for their compositions. The milieu in which this aria grew was as much an influence on this score as Johan Adolf’s imagination. The fierce competition and fickle audiences would make for a great movie. Sadly, the one we have, Farinelli, is not without considerable flaws.

What I like about Hasse’s aria is the way the change to minor in the second stanza is reinforced by a change in meter. In a way, our protagonist is happy to be weeping so the shift to minor is a light one. Tears in triple time are just the thing. Furthermore, this contrasting section forces the dal segno which gives our soprano, Maddalena Bonifaccio, a chance to add a few notes.

Read also about Kyle Gann's latest gig. I have tickets to that concert and I am a big fan of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. It is interesting to note that Nancarrow found inspiration in the CSO's rendition of The Rite of Spring. Pavo Yarvi brought bunches of young people into music hall with that head banger last season. 
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In January 2004 I starting writing an opinion for each selection in the Norton Recorded Anthology of Western Music. Now, more than a year later, I am almost finished. Soon, I will have an archive full of opinions on the music we so carelessly call "classical." And no one can stop me.

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Director of the Contemporary Performer's Workshop... Music Teacher for St. Aloysius Gonzaga School... Principal 'Cellist of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra... Composer

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