Alessandro Stradella
Alessandro Stradella is a city and an important seaport in northern Italy, the capital of the Province of Genoa and of the region of Liguria....

, 25 February 1682) was an Italian
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 composer of the middle baroque
Baroque music
Baroque music describes a style of Western Classical music approximately extending from 1600 to 1760. This era follows the Renaissance and was followed in turn by the Classical era...

. He enjoyed a dazzling career as a freelance composer, writing on commission, collaborating with distinguished poets, producing over three hundred works in a variety of genres.


Not much is known about his early life, but he was from a Tuscan aristocratic
Aristocracy (class)
The aristocracy are people considered to be in the highest social class in a society which has or once had a political system of Aristocracy. Aristocrats possess hereditary titles granted by a monarch, which once granted them feudal or legal privileges, or deriving, as in Ancient Greece and India,...

 family, educated at Bologna
Bologna is the capital city of Emilia-Romagna, in the Po Valley of Northern Italy. The city lies between the Po River and the Apennine Mountains, more specifically, between the Reno River and the Savena River. Bologna is a lively and cosmopolitan Italian college city, with spectacular history,...

, and was already making a name for himself as a composer at the age of 20. In 1667 he moved to Rome where he composed for Christina, Queen of Sweden, mostly sacred music. He was involved in performances of four operas, two by Francesco Cavalli
Francesco Cavalli
Francesco Cavalli was an Italian composer of the early Baroque period. His real name was Pietro Francesco Caletti-Bruni, but he is better known by that of Cavalli, the name of his patron Federico Cavalli, a Venetian nobleman.-Life:Cavalli was born at Crema, Lombardy...

 and two by Antonio Cesti
Antonio Cesti
Antonio Cesti , known today primarily as an Italian composer of the Baroque era, he was also a singer , and organist. He was "the most celebrated Italian musician of his generation".- Biography :...

. Stradella began to live a dissolute life. With Carlo Ambrogio Lonati
Carlo Ambrogio Lonati
Carlo Ambrogio Lonati also Lunati; was an Italian composer, violinist and singer. Francesco Maria Veracini described him in 1760 as one of the most virtuoso violinist of his century.- Life :...

 he attempted to embezzle money from the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

, but was found out: he fled the city, only returning much later when he thought it was safe. His numerous incautious affairs with women began to make him enemies among the powerful men of the city, and he had to leave Rome for good.

In 1677 he went to Venice
Venice is a city in northern Italy which is renowned for the beauty of its setting, its architecture and its artworks. It is the capital of the Veneto region...

, where he was hired by a powerful nobleman, Alvise Contarini, as the music tutor to his mistress, Agnese Van Uffele. She and Stradella began an affair and fled Venice together for Turin
Turin is a city and major business and cultural centre in northern Italy, capital of the Piedmont region, located mainly on the left bank of the Po River and surrounded by the Alpine arch. The population of the city proper is 909,193 while the population of the urban area is estimated by Eurostat...

. Contarini followed and instructed the Archbishop that Uffelle and Stradella must marry or that Uffelle must take the veil. She did the latter, and then the two married in October; however, as Stradella left the convent after signing the contract, he was attacked from behind on 10 October by two would-be hired assassins, who believed him dead when they left him in the street. He was not. The two assassins took asylum with the French ambassador. That Contarini had hired the attackers became known, leading to complaints from the duke of Savoy to Louis XIV; the matter became a topic of negotiation between the courts. In 1678 he fled to Genoa, where he met again with Lonati. He was paid to compose music for the local nobility and the theatro Falconi.
In 1682 he was stabbed to death at the Piazza Banchi. His infidelities were well-known, and a nobleman was rumored to have hired the killer; but the identity of the killer was never discovered, and the hiring was never substantiated. Stradella was buried in the Santa Maria delle Vigne
Santa Maria delle Vigne
Santa Maria delle Vigne is a Roman Catholic basilica church in Genoa, northern Italy. It is known from the 10th century...



Stradella was an extremely influential composer at the time, though his fame was eclipsed in the next century by Corelli
Arcangelo Corelli
Arcangelo Corelli was an Italian violinist and composer of Baroque music.-Biography:Corelli was born at Fusignano, in the current-day province of Ravenna, although at the time it was in the province of Ferrara. Little is known about his early life...

, Vivaldi
Antonio Vivaldi
Antonio Lucio Vivaldi , nicknamed because of his red hair, was an Italian Baroque composer, priest, and virtuoso violinist, born in Venice. Vivaldi is recognized as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread over Europe...

 and others. Some of his music was exploited by George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel
George Frideric Handel was a German-British Baroque composer, famous for his operas, oratorios, anthems and organ concertos. Handel was born in 1685, in a family indifferent to music...

, for example in Israel in Egypt. Probably his greatest significance is in originating the concerto grosso
Concerto grosso
The concerto grosso is a form of baroque music in which the musical material is passed between a small group of soloists and full orchestra...

: while Corelli in his Op. 6 was the first to publish works under this title, Stradella clearly uses the format earlier in one of his Sonate di viole. Since the two knew each other, a direct influence is likely.

Stradella wrote at least six baroque operas including a full-length comic opera Il Trespolo tutore
Il Trespolo tutore
Il Trespolo tutore is a comic opera in three acts by the Italian composer Alessandro Stradella with a libretto by Giovanni Cosimo Villifranchi. It was first performed at the Teatro Falcone, Genoa on 30 or 31 January, 1679...

. He also wrote more than 170 cantata
A cantata is a vocal composition with an instrumental accompaniment, typically in several movements, often involving a choir....

s, at least one was based on a poem by Sebastiano Baldini
Sebastiano Baldini
Sebastiano Baldini was a satirical Roman poet, librettist for almost every composer operating in Rome at that time, and a secretary to a series of cardinals. The most important was Flavio Chigi. For his literary qualities and for his good humor he was well received by the aristocracy and Roman...

 and six oratorios. Stradella composed 27 separate instrumental pieces, most for strings and basso continuo, and typically in the sonata da chiesa
Sonata da chiesa
Sonata da chiesa is an instrumental composition dating from the Baroque period, generally consisting of four movements. More than one melody was often used, and the movements were ordered slow–fast–slow–fast with respect to tempo...



His colorful life and bloody death provided the basis for three later operas on his life. The best-known of these is Alessandro Stradella
Alessandro Stradella (opera)
Alessandro Stradella is a romantic opera in three acts composed by Friedrich von Flotow to a German libretto by "Wilhelm Friedrich" . Set in Venice and the countryside near Rome, it is loosely based on the colourful life of the 17th century Italian composer and singer Alessandro Stradella...

-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

, 1844), by Friedrich von Flotow
Friedrich von Flotow
Friedrich Adolf Ferdinand, Freiherr von Flotow was a German composer. He is chiefly remembered for his opera Martha, which was popular in the 19th century....


American novelist F. Marion Crawford also produced a highly romanticized novel of Stradella's affair and flight from Venice, titled Stradella (Macmillan
Macmillan Publishers
Macmillan Publishers Ltd, also known as The Macmillan Group, is a privately held international publishing company owned by Georg von Holtzbrinck Publishing Group. It has offices in 41 countries worldwide and operates in more than thirty others.-History:...



  • Stradella: Il barcheggio - Valentina Valente; Marco Lazzara
    Marco Lazzara
    Marco Lazzara is an Italian countertenor who sings a wide-ranging repertoire from baroque composers to those of the 20th century and has performed in a number of notable premieres and revivals of rarely performed operas...

    ; Giovanni Dagnino; Alessandro Stradella Consort; Estevan Velardi (conductor) Label: Bongiovanni GB 2102
  • Stradella: Moro per amore - Mark Beasley; Marco Lazzara; Roberta Invernizzi
    Roberta Invernizzi
    Roberta Invernizzi is an Italian soprano. She originally studied piano and double bass before turning to singing. She specialises in early music from the baroque and classical period of music....

    ; Riccardo Ristori; Silvia Piccollo; Alessandro Stradella Consort; Estevan Velardi (conductor). Label: Bongiovanni GB 2153
  • Stradella: Esule dalle sfere - Roberta Invernizzi; Marco Lazzara; Riccardo Ristori; Mario Nuvoli; Alessandro Stradella Consort; Estevan Velardi (conductor). Label: Bongiovanni GB 2165
  • Cantatas Amanti, olà, olà!; Chi resiste al Dio bendato Estevan Velardi, Alessandro Stradella Consort
  • Stradella: Motets Sandrine Piau
    Sandrine Piau
    Sandrine Piau is an opera soprano. Trained as a harpist, she studied voice at the Collège Lamartine and the Conservatoire National Supérieur de Musique du Paris....

    , Gérard Lesne
    Gérard Lesne
    Gérard Lesne is a French countertenor. He also the founder and artistic director of the baroque music ensemble, Il Seminario Musicale...

    , Il Seminario musicale
  • Cantatas: Brandes, Paul O'Dette
    Paul O'Dette
    Paul R. O'Dette is an American lutenist, conductor, and music researcher specializing in early music.O'Dette began playing classical guitar, and while in high school also played electric guitar in a rock band in Columbus, Ohio, where he grew up...

    , Springfels, Weiss. Harmonia Mundi
    Harmonia Mundi
    Harmonia Mundi is an independent music record label founded in 1958 by Bernard Coutaz in Arles . The Latin phrase means "world harmony"....

  • Cantata per il Santissimo Natale (Christmas Eve Cantata): Si apra al riso La Magnifica Comunità. Enrico Casazza. Brilliant
  • San Giovanni Battista (1) Erato, (2) Academia Montis Regalis, Alessandro de Marchi
    Alessandro De Marchi
    Alessandro De Marchi is an Italian conductor, best known for his interpretation of baroque oratorios and operas, as leader of the Academia Montis Regalis orchestra, and director of the orchestra's foundation in Mondovì, Mons Regalis, one of the oldest towns of Piedmont. He was a student of the...

     Hyperion 2008

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