Later in life Hasse’s operas would be spoken of in the same breath as the poet Metastasio, whose librettos he frequently set, as though the two were one: a high-minded, classicizing Marc Antonio e Cleopatra . It brought Hasse a degree of renown in wealthy Neapolitan circles, and a commission from the San Bartolomeo opera house for Il Sesostrate . That in turn blossomed into a lucrative match-up, with seven opera seria composed and produced in six years, as well as a number of comic intermezzo operas and a full-length opera buffa for other venues. Hasse was suddenly on the fast track to fame and contracts.
Paul Hillier and ArsNova Copenhagen continue their exploration of Danish vocal music. The main work here, Line Tjørnhøj’sVoxReportage, was composed in close cooperation with the artists, and weaves various sources together –including 1981 Nobel laureate Elias Canetti, Chelsea Manning, and Rabi’ahal Adawiyya(8th-century Iraq) –to create a ‘reportage’ on the nature of humanity over the past thousand years. In Carl Nielsen’s Three Motets, Renaissance polyphony and the composer’s more personal style are molded into something fresh and powerful; the Swedish Romantic composer Stenhammarsets Danish texts, while Holmboesets British border ballads. Everything about this album crosses borders of one kind or another!
There was a point where the lute sonatas of Sylvius Leopold Weiss were so obscure that Andrés Segovia would play them on guitar thinking he was doing them a favor through reviving them on the "superior" instrument. However, Weiss played a 13-course lute and Segovia's Spanish classical guitar naturally has only six strings; while Segovia considered an instrument like Weiss' as having "too many strings," it is nevertheless the right one to play Weiss' music on, owing to its tone and special resonance. One of the finest players of 13-course lute is Spaniard José Miguel Moreno, who has played in Jordi Savall's group Hesperion XX and leads another, La Romanesca. Glossa's Sylvius Leopold Weiss: Ars Melancholiae consists of two complete Weiss sonatas, two chaconnes, and a little clutch of single pieces placed at the album's center; recorded in 1993, this is one of the finest single-disc collections devoted to Weiss ever.