The reputation of San Giovanni Battista – by far Alessandro Stradella’s best-known and most recorded work – has hitherto overshadowed the rest of his surviving oratorio output, amounting to a total of six works. Unlike that masterwork, San Giovanni Crisostomo (here released for the first time) was conceived for more intimate resources, but it expresses perfectly the modernity of the oratorio genre as it appeared in the second half of the seventeenth century. Sacred and moral themes are combined with political, social, and sometimes even erotic ones, while subject, libretto, and music interact with amazing boldness and freedom on many different levels. Masterfully Stradella presents the age-old conflict between lust for power and the vanity of life, using a wide variety of expressive means and a refined dramatic and psychological depiction of the two protagonists, St John Chrysostom and the empress Eudoxia.

 

5 Diapason award