Leo, Leonardo

Leo, Leonardo
b San Vito degli Schiavoni, 5 Aug 1694; d Naples, 31 Oct 1744

Leonardo Leo was one of the leading Neapolitan composers of his day, particularly in the genres of theatre and church music. He was also a talented composer of vocal chamber music, his cantate da camera being particularly good examples of the genre.

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Leo: A te vengo o prato ameno
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add 14213 v 154r - 157v

This time the poor shepherd is dying for love of cruel Aminta. No matter what he does, beauty of her hair and her breast(!) force him to fall in love. The opening aria, probably largo has some interesting figurations which in most situations would be ornaments (32nd notes). Aria - recit - aria form.

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Leo: Adorato Giesù
Forces: alto & continuo

Source: BL MS Add 14112 The first of six 'Cantate Spirituale' in a British Library manuscript containing works exclusively by Leo.

Consisting of recit - arioso - recit - largo - recit - largo - recit - largo assai, with the last being non-da capo. The theme is one in which the listener is exhorted to find love through Christ.

Range: a - c#'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata spirituale
£4.95
Leo: Amo la bella, ah nò
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source: BL Add MS 14220 f73r - 76v

The lover is torn between his head and his heart with love for his 'beauty'. Who wins? Two recit and aria form with a stunning first Largo (see MIDI) and a fiery presto to finish.

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Leo: Aure liete intorno à Clori
Forces: soprano & continuo

Leo's setting of this popular text. Whilst Clori sleeps her lover guards her rest and surrounds her with flowers (whilst binding himself in the pleasant chains of love). ARA format with two sensuous arias.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung Hs 2358(7)

Range: d - a flat''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Leo: Beatus vir
Forces: alto, violins & continuo

A substantial setting of the psalm 112 for alto, violins and continuo. Virtuosic in style and showing galant musical characteristics. In seven movements.

Source: Münster HS xy175

Range: a - d'

Editor: James Sanderson

Motetto solo (Psalm 112)
£7.95
Leo: Ch'io non conosco Amore
Forces: soprano & continuo

Not knowing Love, not knowing of his sighs, how can Irene recognise his ardor? The lovers complaints (and his happiness) of and in love. ARA format with a larghetto, e cantabile and an aria non presto. The recitative is typically intricate and the harmonic world is complex.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung HS 2358(1)

Range: d - a''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Leo: Che farai, Lidia cara!
Forces: alto, strings & continuo

Sources: BL Add 31618 f20v - f38 and MS 22.g.9.8

The subject matter is Arcadian and concerns the unrequited love of a young man for Lidia. A string prelude 'Alla francese' with two recit and aria pairs. The arias are particularly beautiful.

Range: b' - f#''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata con violini
£5.95
Leo: Chiesta da numi a morte (L'Andromeda)
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Source: BL RM MS 22.g.9 (9)

From a copy in the Royal Music Collection thought to be the only one (Pastore), this is a wonderful piece with a flaw. It is missing the first two lines of text for the second recitative - odd! It works, however and the poetry balances without it. Something strange here so we have decided to make it available.

In 2 recit and aria form (arias con spirito e vivace and tempo giusto the second recit accompagnato) it describes the plight of Andromeda, her plaint to the Gods, the arrival of her erstwhile rescuer Perseus and his call to the Gods to have mercy. It is full of 'pre-classical' markers such as strong dominant pedals, greater chordal movement in accompanying parts, the use of chromatic melody, many dynamic markings and rapid changes from passages in tonic major and tonic minor.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata con violini
£5.95
Leo: Dal di che in questo petto
Forces: alto & continuo

A delightful RARA format cantata for alto and continuo in which our erstwhile lover tries to convince Nice that love is just a game and forgiving his infidelity is her only course of action. Hmmm...interesting theory...

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Leo: Di contento di gioia e diletto
Forces: soprano & continuo

Source BL Add 14212 f150 - 153

This is a particularly beautiful Christmas cantata for soprano with a 'si sona' obbligato part for either cembalo or strings.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata spirituale
£4.95
Leo: Di contento di gioia e diletto (arr)
Forces: soprano, violins & continuo

Leo's Christmas cantata realised for violins, soprano and continuo. Two arias separated by a recitative, last aria is a particularly beautiful Siciliano.

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata spirituale con violini
£5.95
Leo: Dite vedesti forse una donzella
Forces: soprano, violins & continuo

The never-ending search for Nice fills this virtuosic cantata. Lovely imagery including lions, tigers, waves and ships in RARA format. The first aria is full of pathos, calling for the nightingale, the second, following a recitativo accompagnato is fast and furious, a 'navigante' aria. with a range extending to high B flat, this is quite a piece of work!

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata con violini
£5.95
Leo: Dodeci Solfeggi à voce sola (part 1)
Forces: soprano & continuo

In the great tradition of vocal exercise, we present the first six of Leo's Dodeci Solfeggi. Viruosic, but extremely vocal writing. Great for developing flexibility.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung Hs 2369

Range: c - b''

Editor: James Sanderson

Solfeggi
£5.95
Leo: Dopo lunga dimora
Forces: soprano & continuo

A stunning example of the genre showing Leo at the height of his powers in this field. RARA format with two complex and beautiful arias and the expected involved recitatives. The straying shepherd returns to the banks of the River Arno to find both love and infedelity in his beloved Amarillis.

Source: Münster Santini Sammlung HS 2358(2)

Range: d - a'' flat

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Leo: Dove fuggo, a che penso
Forces: alto & continuo

Source: BL MS Add 14112

The second of six 'Cantate Spirituale' in a British Library manuscript containing works exclusively by Leo.

Starting with a great recit with the bass line flying around the vocal part, the works consists of three recit and aria pairs. The second aria (MIDI preview) being wonderfully chromatic. The subject matter concerns the sinner's unwillingness to return to Godliness.

Range: Bb - d'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata spirituale
£4.95
Leo: Dove son, dove m'aggiro?
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Source: BL R.M. MS 22.g.9.6

A lovely work with some terrific chromatic melodic and bass lines mimicking the sighs of the disappointed lover - very experimental? This lover is totally confused and is suffering greatly from the vicissitudes of Amor.

Range: c - b flat''

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata con violini
£5.95
Leo: Frangi Cupido i dardi
Forces: alto & continuo

Source: BL Add MS 14210 ff24r - 29r

Once more, the lover is tired of being struck by Cupid's darts and begs him to break them - he hasn't the strength to resist any more! Cupid however has other plans and torments the lover further. 2 recits with andante and affettuoso arias.

Range: c - d'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata da camera
£4.95
Leo: Graduale - Eripe me Domine
Forces: SATB & continuo

Source: BL Egerton MS 2466

Gradual for Passion Sunday.

Editor: James Sanderson

MIDI Preview

Gradual for Passion Sunday
£3.95
Leo: Il Figliuol Prodigo
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Source: BL RM 22.g.9(4)

With a text written in the first person from the point of view of the Prodigal Son, this is a splendid example of both piety and inventiveness. Using all the chromatic skill typical of the so called 'Neapolitan School' Leo weaves an emotional musical story around the text. The form is (instrumental) introduction, recit, aria, recit, aria with a great deal of variation.

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

The Prodigal Son
£5.95
Leo: Il Giudizio
Forces: soprano, strings & continuo

Source: BL RM 22.g.9(5)

A call to repent and follow Christ in this superb example of the genre. Substantial (Instrumental introduction, recit, aria, recit, aria - both recits secco and accompagnato).

Range: d - g'

Editor: James Sanderson

Cantata con violini: Justice
£5.95
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