A contemporary of Buxtehude and Lully, Antonio Stradella (1644 - 1682) remained in Italy for his entire life. He benefited from important patrons in Rome, including Christina of Sweden. Here in the mid-seventeenth century, with the theatres being closed for over a decade, the cantata was at its height. Like many of the contemporary cantatas, this particular Cantata for Christmas Eve was intended for performances at the palaces of the nobility. Only a handful of musicians are needed for this charmingly intimate piece: three voices, two violins and basso continuo.
Three instrumental sinfonias have also been included on this set. They are small-scaled too. In fact they are sonatas for one or two instruments and basso continuo. Together they offer a varied view of Stradella who is also considered responsible for the birth of the concerto grosso.