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Johann Adolph Hasse: Opera for Lute ()

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Johann Adolf Hasse was a German-born composer who dominated Italian opera around the middle of the eighteenth century. He was known to Italians as "il caro Sassone" -- the dear Saxon -- and then made a triumphant return to the glittering court at Dresden. His expansive operatic arias might not seem to be promising sources for lute music, but the arrangements heard here date from Hasse's time and might even have been made working from live performances: the manuscripts include notations indicating the names of singers. They're big, complicated pieces that capture a startling amount of inner-voice detail, and they work precisely because of the density of Hasse's music: there's always something happening underneath the tune, and hearing operatic music this way makes clear how much. German lutenist Axel Wolf's 13-course instrument is capable of the acrobatics that make this music work. A good place to start sampling is the "Sinfonia" from the opera Solimano (track 3), which shows how the lute can evoke... Hide synopsis

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