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Agostino Steffani: Danze e Ouvertures ()

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The booklet to this release freely concedes that Agostino Steffani (1654-1728) wrote no instrumental music, making the present collection unusually obscure in terms of repertoire for a major-label release. What you get is a set of operatic overtures and dance excerpts from operas, similar enough to what might be presented on an album of instrumental music, from operas 150 years later. But until his operas were championed by Cecilia Bartoli, few had heard of Steffani, who was a leading star of vocal music in Germany in Corelli's day and was listened to all over the continent. It all goes to show how the Baroque revival is no longer confined to small specialist labels. The chief interest in these little pieces lies perhaps in their influence. The "danze e ouvertures" title, partly Italian and partly French, suggests what's going on here: the music, well before Bach and Couperin, contains multiple national styles. The overtures often contain a slow introduction and a fast conclusion, but the fast part... Hide synopsis

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