Cantata “Amore traditore” by Nicola Fago

15

July
2011

It was chance that led me to discover Nicola Fago‘s little-known cantata Amore traditore for soprano and basso continuo.

A few years ago, I was asked to take part in a recital that included a Bach cantata with the same title, yet for bass and harpsichord (BWV 203), a work I’d always wanted to perform.

Although there were already good (easily accessible) editions of the Bach, I did want to have a look at the manuscript out of curiosity—you never know what you might find.

The original is housed in the Berlin State Library (BSL), but was available to me on microfiche (one of the benefits of living in the vicinity of a great academic music library).

As I looked through the BSL’s catalog, I immediately discovered that both J.S. Bach and Fago had set the same anonymous text, with a few variants.

While Bach’s setting is angst-ridden, harmonically rich, extroverted, and virtuosic (especially for the harpsichordist)—perhaps his impression of Italians or the Italian Baroque style—Fago’s is in many ways simpler, more  straightforward, and contemplative, clearly expressing a different, if appealing, aesthetic.

Nevertheless, Fago composed a beautiful work.

Here’s my free edition of his cantata.

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