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Steffani: Duets of Love and Passion

By Amanda Forsythe

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By Amanda Forsythe, Boston Early Music Festival Chamber Ensemble, Christian Immler, Colin Balzer, Emoke Barath, Paul O'Dette, and Stephen Stubbs. By Agostino Steffani. Classical. CD. CPO #555135-2. Published by CPO (NX.555135-2).

Item Number: NX.555135-2

The outstanding features of Steffani's enchanting chamber duets are their contrapuntal sophistication, and the need for extremely accomplished solo singers with the sensitivity necessary for performing complex chamber music. Johann Mattheson recognized both facets in 1739, confirming that Handel had chosen his models for this genre wisely, and also that, in his estimation, Steffani's works remained unsurpassed. Colin Timms' 1987 essay, Steffani's Influence on Handel's Chamber Duets, explored the various ways in which Handel appropriated Steffani's thematic material, contrapuntal style, and overall duet structure for his own works. An Emeritus Professor of Music at the University of Birmingham (UK), Dr. Timms provided the inspiration for this extraordinary Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) recording project and concert, and has been very generous in helping to shape it. Under the direction of BEMF Musical Directors Paul O'Dette and Stephen Stubbs, four stunning vocalists--sopranos Amanda Forsythe and Emoke Barath, tenor Colin Balzer, and baritone Christian Immler--and a continuo team of six brilliant instrumentalists present a selection of Steffani's gorgeous chamber duets, as well as instrumental gems from the Baroque.

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