One of the most grown-up review sites around

52,000 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

  Founder: Len Mullenger             Editor in Chief: John Quinn               Contact Seen and Heard here  

Some items
to consider

Yes we are selling
Acte Prealable again!
£11 post-free

we also sell Skarbo

and Oboe Classics


with Eggebrecht we get all the excitement we can handle

Book 1 Book 2 Book3
Mota The Triptych: -Website

Asmik Grigorian

Breathtaking Performance
controversial staging
Review Westbrook
Review Hedley
Every lover of Salome should see this recording
Mullenger interpretation

absolutely thrilling

immediacy and spontaneity

Schumann Lieder

24 Preludes
one of the finest piano discs

‘Box of Delights.’

J S Bach A New Angle
Organ fans form an orderly queue

a most welcome issue

I enjoyed it tremendously

the finest traditions of the house

music for theorbo
old and new

John Luther Adams
Become Desert
concealing a terrifying message

ground-breaking, winning release

screams quality

Surprise of the month

English Coronation, 1902-1953
magnificent achievement

Support us financially by purchasing this from

Antonio STRADELLA (1639-1682)
Lagrime e Sospiri
Chantal Santon Jeffery (soprano)
Galilei Consort/Benjamin Chénier
Full Italian texts with translations in English and French
rec. 2017, Temple du Bon Secours, Paris
ALPHA CLASSICS 297 [58:05]

Antonio Stradella is an important – and perhaps still overlooked – link between the initial development of Italian opera by the likes of Monteverdi and then Cavalli and Cesti on the one hand, and high opera seria of the next generation on the other. Despite a sizeable body of other vocal and instrumental music, he may be more familiar to some listeners for the lurid details of his personal life, as dramatised partly in Friedrich von Flotow’s stage work, which involved several love affairs, ending in his murder by hired assassins. This disc offers a welcome and more sober opportunity to assess his own contribution to the theatrical genres of opera and oratorio.

Extracts from five such works are given here, interspersed with some bright and adroit readings of their overtures, as well as that to Le gare dell’amore eroico, from Benjamin Chénier and the Galilei Consort. In general Chantal Santon Jefferey sings with great nobility and freshness of voice, full-toned and generous with vibrato in ‘A che tardi a morir, misero core’ from Moro per amore for example, but using less in her more emotionally raw and direct interpretation of the outer two portions of the four given here from La forza dell’amor paterno. In contrast, when treating the Biblical subject of St John the Baptist in ‘Deh che più tardi... Queste lagrime’ she is plangent and yearningly radiant, rather than hysterical, in a high vocal register on assuming the formidable role of Salome; or when taking up the faster middle two extracts from La forza here, her singing comes under no strain at all.

The liner notes rightly argue that the oratorios are effectively religious operas, composed and performed under circumstances that did not permit fully-fledged staging. Those who saw the Guildhall School’s production of San Giovanni Battista in June 2014 will already have witnessed the theatrical possibilities of Stradella’s score, and Santon Jeffery certainly realises the dramatic aspects of the extracts from that work and the other oratorios here. In the two scenes from Santa Pelagia she evokes the ambivalence of the saint as she comes to terms with the luxury and pleasures she has formerly enjoyed, but now seeks to put behind her in order to embrace a life of holiness and modesty. The bright vivacity of her singing for ‘Strugge l’alma’ is followed by an intense focus and control for ‘Quanto mi alletta’ which almost sounds like a different voice. In that oratorio’s overture, Chénier instils a colourful, peppery timbre in his ensemble that surely sums up the saint’s earlier life of richness. Purity and innocence are the marks of the singer’s performance from La Susanna – the figure from the Biblical Apocrypha, who is wrongly accused of adultery – as she asks who will vindicate her.

Santon Jeffery is recorded quite closely, but her voice projects cleanly into the wider acoustic without obscuring the instrumental forces behind her, providing an ideal balance between dramatic spaciousness and immediacy. The one cause for regret is that, with the disc’s running time a little shy of an hour, more extracts are not programmed. Even so, fans of Baroque vocal music should hear this, both for the singer and the engaging repertoire.

Curtis Rogers

Moro per amore
Overture [2:22]
A che tardi a morir, misero core [4:06]
Furie terribili [2:53]
Col mio sangue comprarei… Per pietà [5:28]
San Giovanni Battista
Overture [1:57]
Deh che più tardi... Queste lagrime [6:50]

Le gare dell’amor eroico
Overture [1:13]

La forza dell’amor paterno
O morire o libertà [3:00]
Ferma, regina, ascolta... Morirò [2:03]
Presto, corri ad armarti!... Non vedi che giove [1:26]
Lasso, che feci [4:31]

Santa Pelagia
Overture [3:58]
Strugge l'alma [5:23]
Quanto mi alletta... Sono i crini aurati stami [3:39]

La Susanna
Overture [2:05]
Da chi spero aita, o cieli [7:08]



We are currently offering in excess of 52,000 reviews

Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat


New Releases

Naxos Classical

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger