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Caldara e l’«amorosa investigazione dell’antico»: sulla fortuna di alcune arie tra Otto e Novecento


Some arias by (or attributed to) Caldara were involved in the revival of ancient music which took place between Nineteenth and early Twentieth Century. The most famous of them, “Come raggio di sol”, is likely a forgery in late-Romantic style, as demonstrated through the examination of its literary and musical features. The short piece acquired great celebrity thanks to the soprano Alice Barbi, who performed it in many European capitals; its fortune was so large that it was quoted word by word and commented in a novel by the Italian writer Matilde Serao, “Ella non rispose” (1914). Moreover, its musical treatment inspired Ottorino Respighi for the fourth of his “Sei melodie” (1909), while its text was newly se to music by Alphonse Diepenbrock (“Due canzone”, 1923). “Selve amiche, ombrose piante”, an authentic aria by Caldara, was transcribed for the first time by Alessandro Parisotti in his anthology of "Arie antiche" (1885). The study of the source used by Parisotti (the manuscript score of Caldara’s opera “La costanza in amor vince l’inganno” preserved in the library of the Conservatorio Santa Cecilia in Rome) allows to note some substantial modifications. Another musical number taken from the same work, "Sebben crudele", was radically transformed by Parisotti in genre and gender: some cuts in ritornellos concealed the original structure, and the passage from tenor to soprano voice totally changed the meaning of the text. The last aria taken into consideration, “Alma del core”, published by Ludwig Landshoff in 1914, was a part of a larger construction for two voices.