Giovanni Battista Bassani (1650?-1716)
L'Armonia delle Sirene, Bologna, 1680
L’Armonia delle Sirene (Harmony of the Sirens) is the charming title of a collection of vocal pieces by Giovanni Battista Bassani, consisting of ten Cantate Amorose Musicali à voce sola, opera seconda, (Amorous Musical Cantatas for solo voice, Opus II), printed in Bologna in 1680 by the publisher Giacomo Monti, and dedicated to Prince Don Ferdinando Gonzaga. Bassani, who was an important figure in the history of the chamber cantata in Bologna, was born in Padua in 1650, but during his career he had been chapel master and organist in the Cathedral and the Accademia della Morte in Ferrara, the Confraternità del Finale in Modena and at the court of Duke Alessandro II della Mirandola. He was a member of the Accademia Filarmonica and was proclaimed the Principal in 1682. In 1712 he was appointed maestro di cappella to Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo, where he died on 1st October 1716. He was enormously respected as a teacher and was cited with admiration; he engaged in practically all kinds of music, such as drammi per musica (dramas in music), oratorios and sacred and profane instrumental and vocal works, and contributed to the formation of the Bolognese violin school which made way for Arcangelo Corelli. “The monodic sacred and profane cantatas gathered by the composer in collections with bizarre, exquisitely baroque, titles, were particularly important in the field of vocal music, where Bassani excelled. The profane cantatas composed to texts of lyric love poems contain arias that are very different as far as form is concerned, the melodic line is usually sweeping and extensive and the cantabilità flowing and full of spontaneity"