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Editorial Notes

Madrigals


Spirto di Dio - SATB

This four-part madrigal was written in 1736, for Ascension Day, when the Doge of Venice rode out in his barge, the Bucentauro, for the annual Marriage to the Sea (Sposalizio del Mare), when Venice would be symbolically married to the Adriatic. Every year, the Pope sent a gold ring, which would be dropped into the waters. The lyrics were written by Zaccaria Valaresso (1686-1769), who also wrote the words for Lotti's oratorio, Gioas, re di Giuda (now lost).

Spirit of God, who when the world was young, was pleased to set your foot upon the waters: bless these waters, in which our faith, through many trials over the centuries, remains intact, stronger and purer in piety and in worth. Let favoured Venice extend its rule from sea to sea, until the final eclipse takes down the moon.

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Duetti, Terzetti e Madrigali, (Venice, Bortoli, 1705)

The only volume of Lotti's music published in his lifetime is a collection of duets, trios and madrigals. A total of 18 works, there are 12 duets: for SS, AA, SA, AT and SB; there are 4 trios: for SSB, ATB and SAB; and there are two madrigals, for SATB and SSATB.

The lyrics were newly written poems by Pietro Pariati (1665 - 1733), a frequent collaborator with Lotti, who also supplied texts for his operas and oratorios. All the songs have titles which are not part of the lyrics.

Inconstanza feminile SB
Scherzo d'amore SS
Querela amorosa SA
Funeral della Speranza AT
Supplica ad amore SS
Crudeltà rimproverata AA
Giuramento amoroso SS
Cappriccio AB
Amor, che spera SS
Lontananza insopportabile SA
Patimento in Amore SS
Cambio di Cuori SS
Inganni dell’ Umanità ATB
Incostanza della Sorte SAB
Fugacità del Tempo SSB
Lamento di Tre Amanti SSB
Moralità d’una Perla SATB
La vita caduta SSATB

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La vita caduta (in una siepe ombrosa) - SSATB, continuo

A five-part madrigal from the only works by Lotti to be published in his lifetime. In 1705, the collection Duetti, terzetti e madrigali a piu voci was published by the Venetian printer Antonio Bortoli. The book was dedicated to the Holy Roman Emperor, Leopold I (1640 - 1705), who sponsored the publication, but unfortunately died while the pages were still being printed.

The work was also the subject of the famous "Bonocini incident". In a concert given by the Academy of Ancient Music in London in 1731, Lotti's madrigal, La vita caduta (in una siepe ombrosa), from his 1705 collection, was performed. However, this had previously appeared in an Academy concert, attributed as the work of Giovanni Bononcini (1670 - 1747), who was working in London at the time. Bononcini supposedly protested at the notion that Lotti was the composer, and although he declined to comment further, his case was taken up by others, particularly Maurice Green (1696 - 1755) who may have actually put Bononcini's name to the work in the first place. The Academy's secretary, Hawley Bishop, then wrote to Lotti, asking him to prove that the madrigal was his. Lotti provided a measured but definitive response to the supporters of Bononcini:

I think that they do not so much consult the Honour of their Friend, because by separating from the Academy, they show a resentment which might be just, were the Dispute about an only Child, but for a Madrigal indeed it is too much, since Signore Buononcini can make others equal and much superior.

He settled the matter with notarised testimony. The incident led to Maurice Greene's leaving the Academy and the fall of Bononcini in London as Handel's star rose.

LA VITA CADUTA
In una siepe ombrosa
quando il Sol cò suoi raggi i monti indora,
pompa ed onor di Flora,
apre il bel seno una vermiglia rosa.
Ma le foglie odorate e porporine circondano le spine e cade in sù lo stelo,
con pallide agonie, quando de lumi il Rè parte dal cielo.
Quindi ben lasso apprendo che terrena beltà simile à un fiore
circondata da pene con effimera vita e langue e more.

THE FALLEN LIFE
In a shady hedge, when the sun gilds the mountains with its rays, a vermilion rose, the pomp and honor of flowers, opens its beautiful bosom.
But thorns surround the scented purple leaves and the stem falls upon itself, with pale agonies, when the King of lights leaves the sky.
Therefore I learn wearily that earthly beauty, like a flower, is surrounded by sorrow with ephemeral life, and languishes and dies.

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Moralitå di una perla - SATB, continuo

Another madrigal from Lotti's 1705 published collection of secular music.

Piange l'amante ucciso, la foriera del Sol, l'alba vermiglia e un' avida
conchiglia le lagrime raccoglie onde ne forma candida
perla e vaga, di cui n'ornano i Regi le corone regali e pretiose,
di cui cingon' il collo le donzelle verzzose,
ed' io rifletto intanto
ch' anch' il fasto mortal, nasce dal pianto.

The murdered lover cries, the harbinger of the sun, the red dawn; and an eager seashell collects the tears to form white elusive pearls which adorn the royal and precious crowns that encircle the necks of charming maidens, and I reflect on the mortal pomp, born from tears.

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Crudeltà rimproverata - SS, continuo

Se con stille frequenti
cade l'onda su’l marmo, il marmo frange
Se con faville ardenti
entra il foco nel bronzo, il bronzo accende.
Solo il cor, il cor di Mirtilla, al mio ardor non s'arrende
e piu s'indura all'amor mio che piange.
Poi che fiera, e crudel sempre equalmente
non crede al lagrimar fiamma non sente.

CRUELTY REPRIMANDED

If, with frequent drops, the wave falls over the marble, the marble breaks.
If, with flaming embers, fire enters into bronze, the bronze ignites.
Only the heart, the heart of Myrtle does not surrender to my ardour and resists my love that cries.
Since she, always equally proud and cruel, does not believe my tears, she does not feel any flame.

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Il tributo degli dei per il banchetto – SATB, 2 violin, continuo

Madrigal with violins and continuo accompaniment. Though to be written in 1736, also as part of the celebration of the annual Marriage to the Sea (Sposalizio del Mare) on Ascension Day, the text is a thankgiving to the gods for the banquet.

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ARIAS

Bel labbro formato: Soprano, 2 violin, viola, bass and keyboard continuo

From Act I, Scene 2 of Teofane, Lotti's last opera. It is sung by the castrato role of Prince Adelberto, who has seized the throne of Italy against the wishes of Ottone, the Holy Roman Emperor. The Byzantine princess Teofane is betrothed to Ottone, but Adelberto pretends to be her fiancé, whom she has never seen, wooing her with this aria and overcoming her objections from the portrait of Ottone’s true likeness that she holds.

Bel labbro, formato per farmi beato
il nome di sposo impara a chiamarmi;
Modestia il consente, modestia che tinge
Ed’ostro dipinge, la fronte innocente per piu innamorarmi.

"Fair lips, formed to make me blessed, learn to call me by the name of ‘husband’; Modesty consents, modesty that paints the innocent face purple, to make me love you more."

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Date tu mi dividi: Soprano, 2 violin, viola, bass and keyboard continuo

From Act 3, Scene 2 of Alessandro Severo.

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Discordi pensieri: Alto, 2 violin, viola, bass and keyboard continuo

From the start of Act III of Teofane, Lotti's last opera. Teofane has discovered Ottone comforting his sister Matilda, and as is traditional, misunderstands the embrace and suspects infidelity. Adelberto has escaped from prison and captures Teofane. In the light of these events, Ottone sings this aria somewhat depressed and dejected. Needless to say, the opera finishes with all misunderstandings rectified, all sins regretted and forgiven, and all parties reconciled.

Discordi pensieri che guerra vi fate
respiro lasciate all’ansio mio cor.
Deluso si duole un tenero affetto
offesso il respetto sdegnato.
Mi vuole ne so se maggior sia l’ira o il dolor.

"Conflicting thoughts that make war together, let my anxious heart breath. Disappointed, the tender affection aches, offended [with] indignant esteem. I want to know which is greater: anger or sorrow."

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Lascia che nel suo viso: Soprano, mandolin or archlute, continuo

From Act II, Scene 1 of Teofane, Lotti's last opera. Scored for mandolin and continuo, though it works well with a harpsichord or other keyboard instrument. It also requires a soprano with Top D. It was written for the castrato Matteo Berselli, who played the part of Adelberto. In this point of the opera, Adelberto has been imprisoned, and has been scolded by Matilda for his inconstancy.

Lascia, che nel suo viso, pria che da lei diviso,
costanz’ apprenda il cor. Non esser meno pia
che la catena mia da cui mi vien
permesso darle un amplesso ancor.

"Hold, that in her face my heart may learn constancy, before I am parted from her. Do not be less merciful than my chains, which still permit me to embrace her."

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Non è degna di perdono: Tenor, 2 violins, viola, bass and keyboard continuo.

Aria from Act III, Scene 8 of Alessandro Severo.

Non è degna di perdono
sfortunata fellonia.
Quell ardir, che offende il trono
o ne ascenda col trofeo d’una gran colpa,
o ne attenda pena infame, e morte ria.

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Non lascia mai: Mezzo-soprano, keyboard

Cantata da camera, dating from 1710. The lyricist is unknown.

Non lascia mai quel caro nido
ove godeva l'amante fido
senza lamenti la tortorella.

Lo va cercando al fiume al prato
mà non rimira lo sposo amato
e la tormento pena novella.

Vado lontan dà te
mà sento un non so che
che mi trattiene ancor.

Dirti non so cos'è
ma il moto arresta al piè
e palpitar fa il cor.

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Novo agl'occhi: Tenor, 2 violin, viola, bass and keyboard continuo

From Act I, Scene 5 of Teofane, Lotti's last opera. One of only a few arias for the tenor role of Isauro.

Novo agli occhi del mio amor
di speranza appare un lampo.
E il mio cor qual nocchier già mezzo assorto
da lui prende alcun conforto
ben chi in dubbio ancor di scampo.

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Prestami le tue serpi: Tenor, 2 violin, viola, bass and keyboard continuo

From Act II, Scene 7 of Teofane, Lotti's last opera. One of only a few arias for the tenor role of Isauro.

Prestami le tue serpi ò gelosia,
quel sen per flagellar sebben me è caro.
E dove un dolce amor gustar desia
tu mesci al mio rival il tosco amaro.

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Pur dicesti, o bocca, bocca bella: Soprano, [2 violins, viola, bass and] keyboard continuo.

From Act 1, Scene IV of the opera L’infedeltà punita, which was first performed on 15 November 1712 at the theatre of San Giovanni Grisostomo. The complete score is now lost, though some of the arias survive.

This work is often included in compilations of famous Italian arias, most of which derive from Alessandro Parisotti’s Arie Antiche of 1885. Parisotti is thought to have obtained his source material from an earlier compilation, Les Gloires de l’Italie (Paris, 1868) by François Auguste Gevaert. A manuscript in the French Bibliothèque Nationale (F-Pn, D. 7132) presents the work in E major, with a string instrumental ritornello for the first 17 bars, with the remainder of the work voice and continuo alone.

However, a number of German, earlier manuscripts sources show the work down a tone in D major, with only continuo accompaniment. An 18th-century Italian manuscript, now in Manchester, also shows the work for continuo only, but pitches it in G major (soprano starting on a D, high note A). Either key is more likely than the E major of the 19th century collections. The instruction ‘Allegretto grazioso’ is also unlikely to be original.

The work is presented here in D major with an editorial realization of the basso continuo line. No reference to the string ritornello has been made. It is suggested that the keyboard part in bars 18, 19, 53, 58, 66, 71, 94, 95 is played as a double dotted rhythm, to match the soprano line.

The music for the opera was written in conjuction with C.F. Pollarolo, so there is some question over which one of them wrote the aria. It does seem more sdolcinata than Lotti's usual style, and Pollarolo used the same theme in an earlier opera. The lyrics are by Francesco Silvani.

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INSTRUMENTAL

Sinfonia from Giove in Argo: 2 oboe, 2 French horn in F, 2 violin, viola, basso continuo

Allegro – Adagio – Allegro

The Overture from Lotti's opera of 1717.

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Sinfonia from Teofane: 2 oboe (2 flute), 2 trumpet in D, 2 violin, viola, basso continuo.

Allegro – Adagio – Allegro

The Overture from Lotti's final opera of 1719.

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Trio Sonata in A: flute, oboe d'amore, continuo

Vivace – Largo – Allegro
Thought to have been composed during his time in Dresden (1717 - 1719), Lotti's sonata for oboe d'amore is among the earliest works for the instrument. (However, the surviving source material is dated much later, and it is possible that the instrumentation was subsequently changed.)

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Trio Sonata in F: flute, viola da gamba, continuo

Largo – Allegro – Adagio – Vivace
Another trio sonata, this time for viola da gamba, with flute and continuo. The only surviving source is a 1909 score, copied (seemingly faithfully) from now lost 18th-century parts by the Belgian scholar Alfred Wotquenne.

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Echo Sonata: 2 oboe, bassoon, continuo

[Andante] – Adagio – Presto
This rather curious, but lovely, work uses a solo bassoon and oboe, with a second oboe providing an 'echo' of the first, all underpinnned with a separate figured continuo line.

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Sonata in B flat: 2 violin (oboe), bassoon (cello) and continuo

Adagio – Allegro – Adagio – Allegro
Like Lotti's Echo Sonata, this work features a solo bass instrument in addition to the continuo line, with 2 other higher voiced instruments providing melodic accompanient. The earliest source is dated 1720, and scored for 2 oboe and 2 'bassi'. A source, from around 1750, has 2 violins, bassoon and continuo. The work could be performed with any combination of violins or oboes, bassoon or violoncello, with continuo. The continuo line is figured.

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