Benedetto Marcello «IL PIANTO E IL RISO»

The venetian «nobile dilettanto» Benedetto Marcello wrote his oratorio «Il pianto e il riso delle quattro stagioni dell anno» for the feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary in 1731.

Benedetto Marcello, who was born in 1686 in Venice and who died in 1739 in Brescia, was a universal genius. Composer, poet, author, lawyer and judge, he was also a violin pupil of Francesco Gasparini and studied composition with Antonio Lotti. As a doctor in law he was employed in the public offices of the Venetian Republic.
The publication of his «Estro poetico-armonico» brought him fame during his own lifetime. It is a collection of the first fifty psalms, paraphrased in Italian by Girolamo Giustiani, which became very popular, being translated into other languages and held in high regard by Goethe, Rossini and Verdi. Marcello also composed over three hundred cantatas for one or more voices, various serenades, operas and instrumental works. He wrote four oratorios: La Giuditta (Venice, 1709) and Joaz (Vienna, 1727) were followed by «Il pianto e il riso delle quattro stagioni dell’anno per la morte, esultazione e coronazione di Maria Assunta in Cielo»  [Lamentation and joy of the four seasons on the death, glorification and coronation of Mary Risen into Heaven] (1731) and «Il trionfo della poesia e della musica nel celebrarsi la morte, e la esultazione, e la incoronazione di Maria sempre Vergine Assunta in Cielo» [The triumph of poetry and music in the celebration of the death, glorification and coronation of the eternal Virgin Mary Risen into Heaven] (1733). These two allegories were composed for the Jesuit congregation of San Giovanni in Macerata but also enjoyed subsequent performances in Venice. The librettists of the first two oratorios were Pietro Metastasio and Apostolo Zeno, and the author of «Il pianto e il riso delle quattro stagioni» and «Il trionfo della poesia e della musica» would seem to have been Giulio Vitelleschi S. J. (1684 – 1759). Oratorios in Vulgar Latin, as opposed to Latin, were predominant in Marcello’s time and their bipartite form, in which recitative and aria alternate, follows the traditional scheme. Winter returns from the mountains and meets his siblings Spring, Summer and Autumn who, tearful and distraught, report the death of the Virgin Mary.


Benedetto Marcello (1686 – 1739)
Oratorio in due parti

Primavera Silvia Frigato soprano
Estate Elena Biscuola alto
Autunno Raffaele Giordani tenor
Inverno Mauro Borgioni bass
Venice Monteverdi Academy
Ensemble Lorenzo da Ponte
Roberto Zarpellon conductor

fb 1503177
EAN code 4260307431778
2 CD [ca. 122 minutes]