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Literes: Lo Elementos Opera Ha
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Audio CD, Import, July 1, 2008
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June 11, 2009
Format: Audio CD
Al Ayre Espanol, conducted by Eduardo Lopez Banzo, is a Spanish Baroque ensemble that has over the past few years made some very notable recordings, including Literes' "Jupiter y Semele", "A batallar estrellas" (Spanish cathedral music of the 17th century), and Handel's fantastic but rarely recorded operas "Amadigi Di Gaula" and "Rodrigo". The present recording is one of their earlier releases, on the early music and Baroque label Deutsche Harmonia Mundi. It is a very fine and distinctive recording of Baroque music with a Spanish flavor. Baroque music lovers should know that it is included in DHM's recent "50th Anniversary Edition," a boxed set of 50 selected recordings from their 50 years (!!) of history. Most of the recordings in the set are very good, and this one is quite unforgettable -- and very Spanish in spirit (from the Golden Age of Spanish culture). The price of this 50-CD boxed is incredibly cheap, and anyone who loves Baroque and early music should grab it before it disappears for eternity. To quote a few words from Wikipedia: "Antonio de Literes (1673-1747) was a Spanish composer of zarzuelas, a type of performance that mixes spoken word, song and dance. Unlike Romantic opera, which is dominated by strings, there are guitars, lutes and harpsichords in the orchestra. He played the bass viol for the royal choir in Madrid and was accounted the greatest composer at the Spanish court at the time. His most famous work is 'Acis y Galatea' (1708), which enjoyed frequent performance until 1774. After 200 years of neglect it was recorded in 2003, to an enthusiastic response. The zarzuela "Jupitar y Semele" survives in manuscript form in Evora and its libretto was written by Jose de Canizares (who also wrote 'Acis y Galatea'). It has also been issued on CD."