Italian composer, ecclesiastic and diplomat Agostino Steffani was born at Castelfranco Veneto on 25 July 1654. He sang as a chorister at St Mark's Venice, where he was talent-spotted and taken to Munich, studying there with Johann Kaspar Kerll, and in Rome with Ercole Bernabei.
Steffani spent most of his life in Germany, and also worked for a time in Brussels (where, as an ambassador, he published two operas using his secretary's name, to avoid breaching etiquette).
He died in Frankfurt on 12 February 1728.
His instrumental music is important as an infuence on the music of Handel, and his operas are returning to popularity, being among the best written during the period.
CD Spotlight. Love, Jealousy and Madness - Music inspired by Ariosto's poem 'Orlando Furioso', heard by Gerald Fenech. 'Filippo Mineccia sings with an exceptional timbre that is sensual and luminous, mixing virtuosity with sensitivity, while Pablo Garcia and his ensemble give sympathetic support with their insightful playing.'
CD Spotlight. Vagaries of Love - Baroque music from Dominique Labelle and Musica Pacifica stimulates Gerald Fenech. 'A beautiful issue that is as heartwarming as it is stimulating.'
CD Spotlight. Supercharged Emotions - Agostino Steffani's 'Niobe, Regina di Tebe', recommended by Gerald Fenech. '... intense renditions full of dramatic power and feeling.'
Ensemble. Achingly Beautiful - Agostino Steffani's 'Orlando Generoso', experienced by Roderic Dunnett
Ensemble. Quite a Charmer - 'Alessandro' at the London Handel Festival, reviewed by Robert Hugill