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La Libertà is the most original, and among the most attractive, of Maurice Greene’s secular vocal compositions on Italian texts. Strong circumstantial evidence indicates that he wrote it for the celebrated operatic mezzo-soprano Faustina Bordoni to sing as a grateful farewell to her English patrons and admirers just before her final departure from London in the summer of 1728. The song commemorates not only Faustina but also her constant companion and reputed lover, the violinist Mauro d’Alay, who is likely to have been the original player of the obbligato violin part with which the vocal part interweaves. Greene took the text from an Italian translation of A Letter from Italy, Joseph Addison’s famous poem extolling liberty, which was seen at the time as a distinguishing characteristic of England.
Music example (pdf)