Lia Serafini soprano, Chiara Balasso soprano, Matteo Pigato countertenor, I musicali affetti, Fabio Missaggia
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My only previous experience of Lulier’s music was in the days when BBC Radio 3 actively sought out “new” old music; I seem to remember it being a Christmas cantata in which an angel had to sing rather a lot of top Ds, and featuring the concerto grosso line-up of instruments à la Stradella. The present work – apparently recounting the downfall of heathen Rome and its replacement by the centre of the Christian world, and intended as praise both to the host of the original performances (Ottoboni of Handel fame) and his esteemed guest, the new Venetian ambassador – is very similar in feel. Directed by the primo violino, the string band (33211) with harpsichord and theorbo are generally good, though the tuning between the solo and tutti groups in Rome’s “Quanto effimero è il contento” (and elsewhere, if I am totally honest) leaves something to be desired. Most of the arias are tuneful with instrument “ritornelli” to end with; others are better than that – Valore’s “Così quel bianco giglio” has the two solo violins duetting over pizzicato accompaniment, and Gloria’s “Se d’Eroi bella Madre” features a transverse flute. Of the three singers (sopranos as Rome and Glory, a countertenor as Bravery) only Rome sounds like she is forcing herself into “early music mode”. On this evidence, Lulier would repay closer investigation. Sadly I was unable to locate an English version of the libretto on the record company’s website.