Accompanied Recitative and Alessandro Stradella: Experiments in Expression



The intent topeffect a reform of Eighteenth-Century opera expressed by Christoph Willibald Gluck in the preface to his tragedy Alceste published in 1769, an intent not his alone but also that of his librettist Ranieri de’ Calzabigi and of the choreographer Gasparo Angiolini (as well as of the impresario and “directeur des spectacles” in Vienna, Count Giacomo Durazzo), regarded several aspects of opera seria including recitative. On the latter subject he wrote: “I have felt […] that the concerted instruments should be introduced in proportion to the interest and the intensity of the words, and not leave that sharp contrast between the aria and the recitative in the dialogue, so as not to break a period unreasonably nor wantonly disturb the force and heat of the action.”1 Gluck thereby proposed to eliminate recitative accompanied by basso continuo alone and, instead, to accompany all recitative with instruments other than just the continuo: in other words he advised writing only “recitativo obbligato” (called also accompanied recitative) and never “recitativo semplice” (also known as secco recitative).


Seventeenth Century Source Reading Facsimile Edition Vocal Music Static Idiom 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    cited by Giorgo Pestelli, L’età di Mozart e di Beethoven in Storia della Musica a cura della Società Italiana di Musicologia, vol. 7, Turin 1979, p. 291Google Scholar
  2. translation by Oliver Strunk, Source Readings in Music History, New York 1950, p. 674Google Scholar
  3. 2.
    The whole text is given by Angelo Solerti, Le origini del melodramma, 1903, facs. ed. Hildesheim-New York 1969, pp. 45–49, with the excerpts cited here on pp. 45–47Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Edward J. Dent, Alessandro Scarlatti: His Life and Works, originally 1905 but with preface and additional notes by Frank Walker, London 1960, p. 45.Google Scholar
  5. 8.
    Jane Glover, Cavalli, London 1978, p. 102.Google Scholar
  6. 9.
    Dale E. Monson, “Recitative”, The New Grove Dictionary of Opera, Stanley Sadie (ed.), London 1992, section 1.Google Scholar
  7. 12.
    For a facsimile edition of Scioglieasi baldanzoso where one sees the term, see Lawrence E. Bennett (ed.), Cantatas by Carlo Capellini, Giovanni Battista Pederzuoli, Antonio Draghi, Filippo Vismarri & Carlo Agostino Badia, vol. 16, in: The Italian Cantata in the Seventeenth Century, Carolyn Gianturco (Gen. ed.), New York 1985, pp. 1–15 (“arioso” is on p. 13).Google Scholar
  8. 13.
    See Carolyn Gianturco, Cristina di Svezia scenarista per Alessandro Stradella, in: Convegno internazionale “Cristina di Svezia e la musica” Roma, 5–6 dicembre 1996, Rome 1999, pp. 45–69.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    See Lowell Lindgren (ed.), The Cantatas of Giovanni Bononcini, vol. 10 in The Italian Cantata, 1985, n. 25, p. 135 ff.Google Scholar
  10. 16.
    See Malcolm Boyd (ed.), The Cantatas of Alessandro Scarlatti, vol. 13, in: The Italian Cantata, 1986, respectively n. 28, p. 236ff and n. 29, p. 254 ff.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Deutschland 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.RomItaly

Personalised recommendations