OP2903. POLIFEMO (Bononcini), Broadcast Performance, 1944, w.Schönherr Cond. RAVAG Ensemble; Herbert Alsen, Anton Dermota, Alfred Poell, Jetty Topitz-Feiter, Emmy Funk, etc.
(E.U.) Walhall 0381. - 4035122653816
“Giovanni Bononcini (1670 - 1747) is perhaps one of the most underrated composers of the early-mid 18th century. A prolific composer in all the genres of vocal music from cantata da camera to opera and oratorio, he also wrote a number of instrumental works, ranging from sonatas to sinfonie. Admired both by his peers and by the public for his musical abilities, besides being a gifted composer he was also a brilliant cellist. Bononcini was sought after by royalty and the aristocracy and worked throughout Europe from his beginnings in Bologna, then to Rome, via Vienna to London, Paris, Madrid, Lisbon and returning to Vienna.
Between 1695 and 1696, Bononcini was made a member of two of Rome's most exclusive artistic circles, the musical Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia and the literary Accademia degli Arcadi (in which he was one of seven musicians proposed as founding members of a ‘chorus’, or performance arm). In 1702, following the outbreak of the War of the Spanish Succession, Bononcini moved to the court of Queen Sophia Charlotte in Berlin, where he became the queen's favourite composer and broadened his public reputation with a production of a new opera, POLIFEMO.
From 1720 to 1732 he was in London, where for a time his popularity rivaled George Frideric Handel's, who had arrived in London in 1712. The tories favored Handel, while the whigs favored Bononcini. Their competition inspired the epigram by John Byrom that made the phrase ‘Tweedledum and Tweedledee’ famous. Handel steadily gained the ascendancy, and Bononcini became a pensioner of the Duchess of Marlborough, who had led his admirers. Bononcini left London after charges of plagiarism were proven against him: he had palmed off a madrigal by Antonio Lotti as his own work.”
“Anton Dermota was one of the most musical tenors singing at his time. In Vienna, the highly-esteemed tenor was a leading representative of the lyric category. He was an outstanding figure in Austria’s musical life. It is a delight to hear his smooth line, his gleaming tone and his ‘slavic-elegiac’ vocalism. His smooth, honeyed mezza voce was marvelous. He had an imaginative way with Italian and French music. Today, he is best remembered as a Mozartian tenor…whatever he sang was superbly chiselled and presented as precious musical gems!”
- Andrea Shum-Binder, subito-cantabile