Schütz: Was betrübst du dich, meine Seele SWV | Presto Sheet Music
Luogo e data di registrazione. Prima Edizione LP. Programme Music of the Baroque Era. Altus was the description given to the high male voice, since alto as a female voice did not become a reality of musical life until the 18th century. As regards the history of composition, the altus emerged around as the second highest part of the four-part chorus, as the counterpart to the tenor as the carrying voice.
Originally it referred to a technique of style, but also meant a tonal equivalent. Since the vocal range of the male altos extended from middle tenor to middle soprano pitch, and in exceptional cases even beyond this, the alto was a highly favoured voice range, in addition to the soprano of the prima donnas, not least of all because of the advanced degree of vocal culture displayed by the trained singers.
However, the castratos who had emigrated from Spain to France and Italy since the middle of the 16th century failed to find acceptance in either the Catholic or Protestant church. The altos in the papal chapel were falsetto-singing men, the tenorini. Nevertheless the vocal art of the castratos and the style of opera also had a modifying effect on concertante chur ch music. In the late 17th and early 18th centuries four-part singing was one of the especial musical pleasures in Leipzig student circles; in addition to the alto, the soprano was also sung falsetto, since women had no access to private music making of this kind.
The domain of the altos, especially of the castratos, was Italian opera, which was in full bloom at that time and the standard of which was decisive for the musical reputation of a court excepting Versailles.
The singers encountered respect and highly paid positions in the rich princely courts of Italy and of the German-speaking area, including even Warsaw and St. The expressive alto voice, the considerable technical and musical abilities of the singers, had a contributory decisive effect on the tonal criteria of opera seria.
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Was betrübst du dich meine Seele, GWV 1134/53 (Graupner, Christoph)
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