Nicola Antonio Porpora (1686-1768) was perhaps Handel's strongest rival for fame during his London years. The three Notturni per i defunti, or "Nocturnes for the Dead," were written ca. 1740 for All Souls' Day in Naples, and here receive their first-ever complete recording. This music is a major discovery, full of surprises and carried along by some of the most powerfully expressive texts of the Christian religion. Interpolated are the two highly seductive Sinfonias of Nicola Fiorenza (fl. 1726-1764), which give the finishing touch to this major new release.
An outstanding Italian musician, Stefano Demichelli has long been a close assistant to René Jacobs and has performed with him on many of Europe's main opera stages. A distinguished harpsichordist who studied with Ottavio Dantone, he is now the leader of the Dolce & Tempesta ensemble, consisting of some of the best soloists from various European period instrument ensembles.