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


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.

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

Apart from the three operas that came to be performed (Fortunio, Cimbelino and Doña Flor), which had controversial stories but assured a national resonance to the author, van Westerhout was openly praised by his contemporaries for the massive production of instrumental music – a rare presence in the career of Italian composers of his time – and especially for piano music. Unfairly neglected, however, has been so far the production of songs, although prominent in the whole career of van Westerhout. This project is a complete edition of this repertoire that allows entry into his special world of sound for the first time ever. 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 me 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.

Pasquale La Rotella – STABAT MATER

In the compositional parable of Pasquale La Rotella (Bitonto, March 5, 1880 ─ Bari, March 20, 1963) sacred music is an important and at least as significant as the one that saw him an opera composer, conductor, teacher and first director of the Liceo Musicale “Piccinni” in Bari.
Most of his sacred production dates back to the years when he was magistro et rectore of the “Schola Cantorum” of the Regia Basilica Palatina of San Nicola. It will be necessary to climb over chronologically two wars and forty long years of brilliant and multifaceted career as an all-round musician to find new pages of sacred music. The occasion to put the famous text of Jacopone Da Todi into music came to him from the celebrations for the 230th anniversary of the birth of Tommaso Traetta. In close correlation with the work of the famous countryman, La Rotella decided to deal with the treatment of one of the highest subjects of Western sacred art, composing, at the venerable age of seventy-seven, “his” Stabat.

Michele Cantatore – TERZA MESSA

Michele Cantatore is one of the most illustrious personalities that Ruvo has ever produced throughout its cultural history. A fine example of how culture can triumph over poverty, how light can dispel the dark, and how spirituality can overcome harsh situations. A rare model of how art and beauty can become vehicles for social advancement and freedom from the suffering and intractability of destiny. The composer’s connection with his local area is also important. The creation of a genuine tradition linked to the Christian community to which he belonged means that the music he composed is not the subjective expression of the writer, but a common heritage of faith and art. The 50 years of service to music that maestro Michele Cantatore accomplished is an example and encouragement for us all to live with consciousness and passion, to experience religious musical works with humility and austerity, without self-aggrandisement, without deceptive ambition, moved only by faith and the love of beauty, and with the ultimate goal of praising the Lord. Maestro Cantatore’s great concert came to an end in 2005, leaving the people of Ruvo greatly in his debt; this book represents a first small expression of our gratitude to him.


EFFLUVII – Gabriele D’Annunzio pel tratturo regio al piano di Puglia

Another double record, this time centred on Gabriele D’Annunzio. The poet, much appreciated by scholars of Italian culture in the world, has often been taken as a model by the music world for the sound of his verses. The first of the two CDs concerns his contemporaries, all those Apulian musicians who, for some reason, have come into contact with the Vate or with the power of his verses, as for example Niccolò van Westerhout, Franco Casavola, Pasquale La Rotella and Rito Selvaggi. The second record, instead, was entirely commissioned by the Traetta Opera Festival to contemporary composers of the Apulian scene, many of whom are under 30. Between verses never set to music and interesting comparisons with famous compositions, it presents itself as a completely original production, full of interesting ideas and important insights into the contemporary music scene of our region.


ΧῶΡΑΙ – Salotto musicale pugliese

This double record is a tribute to the Apulian creative genius. The chamber romance, at the centre of our “salon”, has always stood out as summa of music and word, and even more so when the leitmotiv is the unconditional love for a land which is sometimes generous and sometimes barren, but always showing deep affection to its children. As a comparison and in a sense of continuity, we present several generations of composers from the early twentieth century (Abbate, La Rotella, Costa, Fiume) to the present day, including Nino Rota and his students with their original pieces commissioned by the Traetta Opera Festival. It doesn’t matter whether the compositions collected in this record were evoked by the verses of great poets of the past or by young authors (they too from Apulia): the sincerity of their musical inspiration inextricably links them to that feeling rich of colours and scents, of land, sea, centuries of history and that infinite wandering which has always been the identifying element of our region.

Tommaso e Filippo TRAETTA – Ouvertures e Sinfonie


Father and son united by the bond of blood and music. This is the common thread of the disc dedicated to Tommaso and Filippo Traetta, composed of music performed by the Bari Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra conducted by Vito Clemente. The disc pays tribute to the two composers, travelers and great interpreters of music between the 1700s and 1800s. On the one hand, the genius of Tommaso Traetta, born in Bitonto but known throughout Italy (Rome, Venice, Rome, Parma), Europe (with the experiences made in London and Vienna) and the world (thanks to the experience in Russia at the court of Tsarina Catherine II), on the other hand, the rediscovery of the repertoire of his son Filippo, known because he was the founder of no less than three conservatories in the United States (in Boston, Philadelphia and New York). Within the disc are the most significant overtures from the operas of Tommaso Traetta and some pieces by Filippo Traetta (two overtures and non-operatic pieces).


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.

Alfonso Rendano (1853 – 1931) – PORTRAIT

A class pianist, a solitary musician, curious and stateless but never forgetting his roots, a warrior but also a discontinuous composer, capable of coming into the limelight with pioneering feats and striking exploits, but also ready to disappear with proud escapes, stubborn silences and prolonged absences from the scenes. In short, this could be the descritpion of Alfonso Rendano, a rather neglected exponent of that Italian generation of the mid-nineteenth century which had the difficult task of reconciling the “country of melodrama” and the classic-romantic culture of Europe. The compositions in this album provide us a double portrait of Rendano at his beginning, who, as a composer, was able to switch between different registers. The three valses, dating back to the early seventies, despite their differentiated characters, present to us the young pianist-composer as totally absorbed in the tradition of his time, the Salonmusik, on which the foundations of all the piano careers of the nineteenth century were built. Pianists used to contribute to it with their own compositions, which had elegant, seductive, more easily communicative features. The Quintet in A minor for piano and strings, together with the Concerto for piano and orchestra, is the most demanding creation of Rendano’s early years. It is therefore no coincidence that the two works were presented by their author as a “visiting card” in one of the most important moments of his career: the meeting with Liszt and the performances at the Grand Ducal Palace in Weimar in 1880. His Quintet was (sporadically) performed, but it was not published during the life of the author and remained a unique work whose knowledge was limited to very few experts. A surprising destiny for a work of extraordinary importance, whose four movements prove a far from impersonal adherence to the forms and conventions of classical-romantic chamber music. The gestures, certain tunes, the underlying texture – with the strings, often united and differentiated from the piano, guiding the creation – are unmistakable references to the Quintet in E flat major, Schumann masterpiece.