Tommaso Traetta – IL CAVALIERE ERRANTE (The Errant Knight)


Il Cavaliere Errante (The Errant Knight), a comic-heroic drama, belongs to the last creative period of Tommaso Traetta: here he first developed the amiable side of his talent arriving to originality and acquired lightness in his musical expression.The opera is essentially a fairy tale: a Spanish prince makes his men abduct the lady whom he is in love with, he holds her prisoner in an enchanted island, and there, with the aid of the spells of a magician, tries to convince her to marry him. The lady, however, is in love with the Errant Knight who, with the help of a good witch and with his faithful servant, is able to dissolve the incantations, free his beloved and marry her. The score is full of parodies, recitatives and virtuosic arias for all the characters and presents some topoi used by his successors, from Mozart to Rossini.

Tommaso Traetta – MESSA IN DO


In Traetta’s biography, the contribution to European opera history with over forty titles, both serious and comic, was always emphasized. It was rather less considered the equally significant production in the sacred field.
The Mass in C, which presents in its general structure the typical alternation between choral interventions and soloists, is in fact full of “roundness” and “liveliness” of musical images.
The executive proposal of this edition offers the philological transcription of all voice parts and summarizes the orchestra for solo keyboard accompaniment: a solution that will allow this composition to be performed by all the choral ensembles even when a real orchestra is not available.
A composition of great charm that helps to learn more in depth the religious repertoire of one of the major European composers of the mid-eighteenth century.

Tommaso Traetta – STABAT MATER of Naples


The medieval sequel Stabat Mater dolorosa, whose unsigned text is traditionally attributed to Jacopone da Todi, had a remarkable fortune during the Catholic Counterreformation and soon entered the oral repertoires of the secular confraternities, especially in Southern Italy, constituting a strong emotional moment on the eve of Holy Week. However, this masterpiece is part of a compositional tradition that has characterized the transmission of a sacred musical style typical of the so-called “Neapolitan school.” The research tools available to musicologists today make it possible to observe a wider dissemination of the Stabat by Traetta than a decade ago and such a widespread presence can only testify to the fortune of this composition, which we can now declare well-deserved. In it two of the voices are soloists – soprano and alto – alternating with four-voice chorus sections. This element makes the Stabat by Traetta the ideal point of convergence of the two Neapolitan traditions, that with multiple voices, which dates back to the seventeenth century, and that with two voices, soprano and alto, consecrated by Scarlatti’s and Pergolesi’s masterpieces.

Niccolò van Westerhout – LIRICHE (Songs for voice and piano)


Unfairly neglected has been so far the production of chamber vocal music, although prominent in the whole career of Niccolò van Westerhout.
The 30 songs published here for the first time in a modern edition testify to compositional continuity in this genre for nearly fifteen years. The oldest dates back to 1879 (two versions of “Melancholic Singing” on the verses of two scapigliati poets, Emilio Praga and Ugo Tarchetti, respectively), when “Niccolino” was twenty-two and began to become acquainted in the Neapolitan setting, also thanks to the favors of esteemed intellectuals who had discovered him. Most of them date back to the last decade of his life, especially the years 1888-1890.
At the end of the anthology of romanze da camera, a special “Salve Regina” was opportunely inserted. It is a page explicitly taken from the opera Doña Flor.
The composing characteristics of van Westerhout’s arie da camera are the syllabic treatment a delicate and hesitant instrumental accompaniment, due to a combined melody motion, and a general atmosphere that is intriguing and permeated of sweet melancholy.



CHORAI – Salotto musicale pugliese

Questo doppio disco vuole essere un omaggio al genio creativo pugliese. La romanza da camera, al centro del nostro “salotto”, si impone da sempre quale momento di massima sintesi tra musica e parola e ancor di più quando a fare da fil rouge è l’amore incondizionato per una terra ora generosa ed ora brulla ma sempre colma di affetto per i propri figli. A confronto, in un ideale di continuità, diverse generazioni di compositori dal primo Novecento (Abbate, La Rotella, Costa, Fiume) ai nostri giorni, passando per Nino Rota ed i suoi allievi con brani originali appositamente commissionati dal Traetta Opera Festival. Non importa se a suggerire le composizioni qui raccolte siano i versi di grandi poeti del passato o di giovani autori (anch’essi pugliesi), la sincerità dell’ispirazione musicale le lega indissolubilmente a quel sentire intriso di colori e profumi, di terra, di mare, di secoli di storia e di infinito vagare che è da sempre elemento identitario della nostra regione.


LIRICHE (Songs for voice and piano) – Niccolò van Westerhout (1857-1898)


The resigned and reserved character did not prevent Van Westerhout from being well-liked in Naples. His salon soon became very popular and he bonded with various artistic personalities, such as Arturo Colautti and Gabriele D’Annunzio.
Attentive to the symphonic novels of Northern Europe, he was among the first to introduce to the Neapolitan locale Richard Wagner’s musical dramas, and to make people appreciate the immanent transcendence of his subjects and the dauntless chromaticity, which he will treasure in his own production. This cultural opening is all the more evident in the lyrics that Van Westerhout chooses to play in his liriche da camera; from the Milanese scapigliati poets Tarchetti and Praga, to Cavallotti’s post-revolutionary stanzas, from the verses of a renown Neapolitan novelist such as Rocco Pagliara, to the choice of three female lyricists, among whom Evelina Cattermole and Annie Vivanti, highly acclaimed and with eccentric individuality. A special mention deserves the poet Heinrich Heine, the most chosen by Westerhout, who shares with him the conviction of artistic inspiration as a moment of pure personal reality, sinking the roots in that romantic intimacy that, disenchanted, was at the time in its twilight years.
And it is in this production that we have the feeling of knowing Nicolino’s sensitivity, his thoughts, his solitude and the elegant melancholy that makes him one of the most wavered rediscoveries of the Italian nineteenth century, in the shadow of its splendors in which he is still waiting for his great and well-deserved praise.


NATAL’È (So It’s Christmas)


The lyrics in this record are the same as many snowflakes: unique and yet here collected in order to create a single special atmosphere.
Waiting for Christmas has got a hundred faces. It is a child that comes to life, a child that waits, a child that laughs, a child that sings, just like those in the treble voices’ choir ‘Caffarelli’ that, it is not a case, open this collection with Federica D’Agostino in Christmas Time by Rocco Cianciotta, first recording ever for the very young team of the Traetta Theatre in Bitonto directed by Emanuela Aymone.
Christmas is a memory, a song of joy. The lyrics by the famous composer from Bitonto Tommaso Traetta and his son Filippo Trajetta, a successful Italian American composer, lead us through the voice of the soprano Daniela Degennaro, to a simple and delicate past, in which candles substitute the thousands of colourful lights and the prayer becomes art, touching the humblest hearts.
Christmas is hope. It is the wandering on the cold wind of the protagonist of Viaggio di Natale by Rocco Cianciotta, whose faithful and laical tale, written and narrated by Maurizio Pellegrini, carries us around the houses in Europe, arriving directly to us, to our sometimes too asleep consciences.
Christmas is the surprise that Pietro Laera gives with his Improvvisazione for piano, intimate and shared emotion, over words.
And there are those who live Christmas night in other special nights, as well as we do, as Apulians, with Saint Nicholas, ‘the real’ Santa (Ni)Claus, whose history and tradition are entrusted to the evocative language of Pantaleo Gadaleta, a real collection of talking pictures to Maurizio Pellegrini’s lines.
Christmas is our running, our staying together, our hugs, cards, the crib, gifts, biscuits, the dreams we hang on the tree, and the good resolutions we promise to ourselves thinking about tomorrow and about yesterday with shining eyes. After all, we are always children again at Christmas; and the voice of the ‘Caffarelli’ choir in Natale nel mondo by the unforgettable Raffaele Gervasio turns into the living voice of all of us.


FILIPPO TRAJETTA – An Italian musician in America


The monographic album collects three quartets and three marches by Filippo Trajetta (1777-1854), son of the famous opera composer Tommaso Traetta, after moving to the United States at the beginning of the nineteenth century. These are compositions of great historical importance, as well as incredible beauty, which come back to shine with a new light thanks to the work of the Modus String Quartet. Transferring to Naples to continue with the studies of harmony and counterpoint with Fedele Fenaroli and apprenticeship with the famous Niccolò Piccinni, Filippo was involved in the revolutionary motions of 1799 against King Ferdinando IV of Naples; was arrested for being the author of several patriotic hymns for which he was imprisoned in the underground of Castel dell’Ovo. After escaping, he was able to board Mount Vernon’s ship to America, where he landed on July 3, 1800. He first settled in Boston, where he and his fellow musicians François Mallet and Gottlieb Graupner founded the American Conservatory and he composed some of his first works, including “Washington’s Dead March” and the quartets in this album. He then moved to New York, where composed some oratorios and the opera “The Venetian Maskers”, often cited as the first composite work in the United States.