CD Recording of “Mira Lilla” Unpublished Handel Cantatas

Project location: Italy, Rome
Project start date: June 2011 - Project end date: April 2012
Project number: 2011-24
Beneficiary: Associazione Culturale Musica Perduta


Musica Perduta was founded in 2007 with the purpose of undertaking research on the Italian musical heritage, with a special focus on sacred music, and of performing the works found as a result of this research activity, as well as other relatively underperformed or unknown masterpieces of the Italian baroque period. During the first four years of its research activity Musica Perduta has reached some significant achievements, among which the discovery of unknown works by composers such as Vivaldi and Handel. Musica Perduta has also developed a significant performance activity, taking part at several festivals. Since 2008, Musica Perduta has established a close partnership with the Oratorio di S. Filippo Neri at the Chiesa Nuova in Rome, where it performs regularly in the "Spiritual Concerts" season. The "Spiritual concerts" resume an ancient tradition, which dates back to the Counter-Reformation age, of preaching a sermon in Italian language, interspersed with the performance of sacred music related to the theme of the sermon. As a result of this activity, Musica Perduta has recently published a CD of sacred music "Intorno all'oratorio di S. Filippo Neri", under the Classic Voice Antiqua label. Another CD, with the cello sonatas by the Franciscan father Francesco Maria Zuccari, discovered by Musica Perduta musicologists in the library of the Sacro Convento in Assisi, is going to appear on February 2012 under the Brilliant Classics label.

The two cantatas "Mira Lilla gentile" and "La caduta di Icaro" are probably the two most important unpublished scores discovered by Musica Perduta musicologists. Attributed to Georg Friedrich Handel, these cantatas are still waiting for a first recording and edition, and do still need to be included in the official HWV (Handel's Werkes Verzeichnis) catalogue.
"Mira Lilla gentile" has been written in two versions: the first one with obbligato violin, and the second one with obbligato cello. The origin of the manuscript, as well as many other features, suggest that this work was written during Handel's stay in Naples in 1708.
"La caduta di Icaro", reported by an anonymous manuscript, has been previously attributed by musicologists to the Italian composer Francesco Mancini. On the basis of new evidence, including the fact that G.F. Handel had written another cantata with the same libretto, reported under the HWV 170 catalogue number, we believe that this cantata should be attributed instead to G.F. Handel.
Both work are of very high aesthetical and historical value, and contribute to shed light on the relations between G.F. Handel and the Italian musical environment at the beginning of the XVIII century.

The project received a grant from the Nando Peretti Foundation. It aims at producing a CD recording the two versions of "Mira Lilla gentile" (the one with obbligato violin and the one with obbligato cello), as well as "La caduta di Icaro" in both versions, the one officially attributed to Handel (HWV 170), and the one formerly attributed to Francesco Mancini. This CD should be of high interest for both musicologists and the public at large because of the beauty and variety of the music.
The performers will be:
Valentina Varriale, soprano
Monika Toth and Laura Corolla, baroque violin
Renato Criscuolo, baroque cello
Luca Marzetti, violone and baroque double bass
Jasmyne Capitanio, gamba
Michele Carreca, theorbo
Carolina Pace, recorder
Alberto Bagnai, harpsichord
The recording will take place in Rome under the technical supervision of Andrea Dandolo, producer of the Italian label "Stradivarius", with the technical support of Fabio Ferri. The recording stage of the production will take three days, from December 12 to 14. The post-production stage will take two to three months, according to the availability of the producer.
At the end of the post-production, a master CD will be available and it will be submitted to an international record label, that will produce and distribute the CD. The choice of an international label will ensure a high visibility to the project outcomes.

Besides its value from a musicological point of view, as well as from the point of view of the promotion of the Italian musical heritage, the publication of this CD would contribute to increase the visibility of the Musica Perduta ensemble, consolidating its position as a leading research and performance ensemble in the field of Italian baroque music.

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