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Allegoria Ensemble | L'anima Oscura

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L'anima Oscura

by Allegoria Ensemble

L’Anima Oscura is a journey through the works of some of the most remarkable composers of seventeenth-century Italy, in search of the subtle connections between love and death, suffering and insanity.
Genre: Classical: Early Music
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Aita Aita. Bellerofonte Castaldi (Composer)
Bellerofonte Castaldi
3:03 $0.99
2. Cor Mio. Francesco Rasi (Composer)
Francesco Rasi
2:53 $0.99
3. Oh Come E Vaga. Bellerofonte Castaldi (Composer)
Bellerofonte Castaldi
3:22 $0.99
4. O Filli Mia Che Tanto Amai. Francesco Rasi (Composer)
Francesco Rasi
2:37 $0.99
5. Deh Deh Com in Un Momento. Francesco Rasi (Composer)
Francesco Rasi
3:51 $0.99
6. La Sabbatina. Pandolfi Mealli (Composer)
Pandolfi Mealli
7:34 $0.99
7. Hor Ch E Fuggit El Giorno. Francesco Rasi (Composer)
Francesco Rasi
4:14 $0.99
8. Sonata in Re Min. Allesandro Stradella (Composer)
Allesandro Stradella
0:58 $0.99
9. Dunque Clorida Mia. Bellerofonte Castaldi (Composer)
Bellerofonte Castaldi
4:52 $0.99
10. Sonata Xi - I. Ignazio Albertini (Composer)
Ignazio Albertini
5:38 $0.99
11. Un Guardo Ohime Ch' Io Moro. Francesco Rasi (Composer)
Francesco Rasi
1:53 $0.99
12. Quella Crudel. Bellerofonte Castaldi (Composer)
Bellerofonte Castaldi
3:00 $0.99
13. Quella Altera. Bellerofonte Castaldi (Composer)
Bellerofonte Castaldi
4:33 $0.99
14. Sonata in Re. Allesandro Stradella (Composer)
Allesandro Stradella
0:54 $0.99
15. Hor Che La Notte Ombrosa. Bellerofonte Castaldi (Composer)
Bellerofonte Castaldi
4:37 $0.99
16. Vale Diva. Bartolomeo Tromboncino (Composer)
Bartolomeo Tromboncino
3:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes


“Se ria sorte pur mi condanna a soffrir morte”.
If adverse Fate condemns me to suffer even death...
(B. Castaldi)

L’Anima Oscura is a journey through the works of some of the most remarkable composers of
seventeenth-century Italy, in search of the subtle connections between love and death, suffering and

Our journey is meant to seek out the dark soul, L’Anima Oscura, of several particularly sensitive or
tormented musicians that lived under the shadow of death's brutality, including several murderers
– Francesco Rasi, Bellerofonte Castaldi, Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi Mealli, and from the Renaissance,
Bartolomeo Tromboncino – as well as two murdered composers, Ignazio Albertini and Alessandro

It is a fascination with the past and with the mystery shrouding the lives of these early composers which
has led us down this path, trying to get under the skin of such intriguing artists, in search of the troubling
events in their lives. We were further inspired by an engraving included in Juan Valverde de Amusco's
History of the composition of the human body (Rome, 1556), in which a man is drawn as having flayed off
his own skin in order to show the raw interior of his body. Metaphorically, this could be seen as peeling
away the mortal exterior to expose the soul within. Similarly, in the creation of music composers ca
discard the “skin” of mundane communication and use the sublimity of art in order to express their
troubled inner souls.

When someone is gifted with imagination but deprived of balance, he can kill [...] or fire off an atomic bomb
[...] In either case, the dark side that lives inside of us has developed itself [...]
A creative person has no emotional limits. This means that we must be aware that such a person can in fact
kill, betray, be greedy, vain, avaricious, irascible...
(Alejandro Jodorowsky, from “Curso acelerado de creatividad”, in Psicomagia, 2005)

These words almost seem to have been written specifically to describe the underlying concept of
L'Anima Oscura. Far be it from us to begin a discourse on criminal psychology within the confines of this
presentation; however, this citation does suggest that the way that history remembers so many artists and
creative geniuses is inextricably associated with their bizarre, eccentric, or even, in the worst cases, violent

We have approached this pairing of creativity and violence from the artistic, aesthetic standpoint, in as
much as the “troubled” psyche of certain composers seems to reveal itself a priori through both music
and poetry. Obviously some conjecture is involved, as it would impossible to predict by looking at the
artistic output of any one musician that, years later, he would suffer or inflict a violent death. However, the
dramatic portrayal of pain and suffering, especially in regards to love, was an integral part of the aesthetic
and rhetorical practice in seventeenth-century Italian music. In fact, if it is not the skin that represents
the outward shell of the individual, it could be the mask, the Baroque mask, that of the haughty, refined
courtly man, so polished and secure in outward appearance, and writhing with uncontrollable passion and
sentiment beneath. Notwithstanding, or perhaps even because of this mask which conceals and protects
the unseen pathos, the force and insatiability of love, especially when rejected, was equivalent to the
devastation of death for the Baroque poet and musician; so much so that if we were to examine nothing
but the pure words of this poetry set to music without any knowledge of the stylistic context, we might
think that it was by dwelling so much upon death that these composers became caught up in such morbid

Italian poetry of the seventeenth century was indeed characterized by the exaltation of love's suffering.
The topic of love unrequited, rejected, impeded by external circumstances, or ruptured by sudden
departure or death, is portrayed as the instigator of countless dramas, deliriums, and spasms of
desperation so great as to induce in the subject-victim the desire to put an end to his insufferable state of
being, even it be by death. Using an endless array of rhetorical figures and symbols, such as the description
of flowers, precious objects and seasons (from sweet and bucolic Spring to the blistering cold and wailing
storms of Winter), poets and musicians created great works of art based on the juxtaposition of such
contrasting images as the beauty of the beloved, the cruelty of rejection, and the melancholy of nostalgic
solitude. The richness of the accompanied monodic style (a single voice accompanied by a basso continuo),
undiminished by time, lies precisely in the union of expression and rhetoric, of poetic and musical
composition, which work in concert to speak to and move the listener.

What then is L'Anima Oscura exactly? We have sought it out in the arie, cantate, madrigali, frottole and
sonate of composers who have drawn us in not only through the intensity and sublimity of their music, but
also through their intriguingly troubled stories. In them we have uncovered great sensibility and creative
talent, as well as stylistic knowledge and the artistic daring needed to step outside of its limits. All of this at
the price of, if we may so speculate, a certain lack of psychological equilibrium.



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