L’Equivoco stravagante (the curious misunderstanding) was Rossini’s first attempt at writing a two act opera.
The plot is based around three characters; Ermanno, Ernestina and Buralicchio. Ermanno, who’s young and poor, loves Ernestina the daughter of Gamberotto, a wealthy farmer. However, Ernestina and her father have their eyes on Buralicchio, a young upstart who has more money than sense. To get his competition out of the way, Ermanno and a few servants hatch a plot to convince Buralicchio that Ernestina is actually a castrato, and worse, an army deserter. Ernestina is arrested, but eventually freed by Ermanno whom she then marries.
The subtitle of this program is “Renaissance Madrigals Embellished,” a collection of the diminution repertoire that, as ensemble director and founder Skip Sempé says in a printed interview, was only miraculously written out or prepared for publication at all.
Antico / Moderno is a journey into music embellished throughout the ages, proving that this ractice, born over 500 years ago, is still alive today. This programme, conceived with care by Skip Sempé, provides time travel with an incredible diversity of sounds and colours. A rare testimony of elegance - that a simple melody composed at the heart of the Renaissance can create an intense emotional experience even in the world of today.
Harpsichordist and musicologist Skip Sempé leads the ensemble Capriccio Stravagante in an eclectic selection of late Renaissance and early Baroque dances and songs mostly from England and Germany. Sempé has selected an attractive variety of pieces, ranging from soulful pavans to animated galliards. The ensemble plays with exemplary crispness, brightness, and warmth.
The programme on this disc which is the ensemble Academy of Ancient Music's first has been presented in many cities of the USSR. The music is performed on Italian and French instruments of the 17th - 18th centuries, a harpsichord made by F.Ravdonikas (after the Flemish original of the 17th century). The pitch is 415 Hz. (about half a tone below the modern pitch).