Niccolò Jommelli • Isacco figura del Redentore
First modern performance of the 1760 Rome version, based on the critical edition by Francesco Luisi
NICCOLÒ JOMMELLI Isacco figura del Redentore
Oratorio for five soloists, chorus and orchstra
Libretto: Pietro Metastasio (1698-1782)
Intermission approx. 12:05 p.m.
End of concert approx. 1:30 p.m.
Print programme (PDF)
Like no other, Pietro Metastasio influenced the musical world of the 18th and early 19th centuries – after all, more than 300 composers set his libretti to music! As Court Poet in Vienna, he also wrote texts on biblical themes for Holy Week every year, using these occasions to pay homage to the virtues of his sovereign, Charles VI. In these oratorios, Metastasio was able to describe the intimate, personal relationship between the Emperor and God, as well as inner conflicts – in this concrete case, the sacrificing of personal interests for the sake of the greater good. Of course, Metastasio employed all the registers of his grandiose talent as a rhetorician and poet in these sacred works, a fact proven by the popularity his oratorios enjoyed outside Vienna as well.
The composer Niccolò Jommelli set Isacco figura del Redentore in 1742, very early after its first appearance in 1739, for Venice. The Oratorio enjoyed performances in many European cities at the time. Jommelli, admired by Metastasio, is considered a highly differentiated orchestrator, who dedicated much of his efforts to the wind instruments and new dynamic effects in orchestral writing. He was also a master of the dramatic scene. His opera-loving sovereign, Duke Carl Eugene of Württemberg, was so perturbed by one of them that he believed he could not withstand the emotional impact of hearing it a second time…