Andromeda liberata, Barbican Hall, London
By Richard Fairman
Published: December 16 2004 02:00 | Last updated: December 16 2004 02:00
In his prolific career Vivaldi wrote about 38 solo cantatas, 20 motets and 45 operas, of which 21 survive more or less, but hardly any of his vocal music gets performed today.
So how did this rather uninteresting piece elbow its way to the head of the queue? Selling Andromeda liberata as a news story about a musical detective trying to uncover the identity of a forgotten masterpiece has brought out the Sherlock Holmes lurking behind every editor's desk. Music magazines and newspapers worldwide have rushed to publish articles. A recording is due soon from a big international record company.
Was it all worth it? Despite the efforts of the sleuth on the case we still do not know who wrote most of this long-forgotten serenata. Vivaldi's name can confidently be ascribed to only one aria, while the rest may be by him or a contemporary, or apasticcio put together by a number of different composers.
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