Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747)

Bononcini was successful in securing positions in many of the centres of musical patronage in continental Europe. After studying in Bologna, he began to establish a reputation both as a player and composer. He travelled successively to Rome, Vienna (twice), Berlin and Venice, so that by 1706 he could be considered “famous throughout Europe”. Apart from operas and serenatas, many of his secular compositions in this period were chamber cantatas, of which he wrote around 250. A few of these were published, but most survive in manuscript collections.

Bon 1

Io vi chiedo o selve amene


for alto (bflat-c''), 2 recorders and continuo

Price: £ 6.90

The present work, the cantata Io vi chiedo o selve amene is in one such manuscript collection of Italian cantatas, British Library Add. MS 29963. The assistance of the Library in making available a photocopy of the work is gratefully acknowledged.
This delightful work has the typical structure of alternating arias and recitatives: the melodies are simple and attractive, and the mood is strongly rural and pastoral. The lover (Florinda) wanders in the pleasant woodland (selve amene) seeking her love, the recorders suggesting a woodland chorus. But something is wrong - the trees do not send back an echo of her complaints. Only the stream in the second aria, seems to offer solace, but even that appears to be searching for something that is never found. In the second recitative Florinda laments the absence of her beloved, and likens this to living without a heart. The last aria maintains the pastoral mood in a lilting 12/8 time, even though it is an impassioned plea by the lover to be reunited with her love.

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