The famous 'Passacalli della Vita' aria, a genuine hit on the Early music scene, has been rumoured not to be an original composition from the 17th century at all, but the work of a present-day musician. Lutenist Michael Dücker has attempted to get to the bottom of this story, and obtained a copy of the printed edition ostensibly containing the song. As things turned out, not only was the sought-for aria original, but there were many other musical treasures hidden in this bundle of approximately 200 pages.
In this printed edition of 1657, of which only a few copies survive today, Francesco Ratis, organist of the Oratorium Order at Chiavenna, compiled numerous popular and folkloristic canzonette and provided them with spiritual texts. The aim of this music was to convert the listeners with catchy melodies to dialect texts, thereby encouraging them to be pious. The most exciting and interesting item in the bundle is a type of miniature oratorio hidden at the end of the collection. It consists of four dialogues featuring angels, demons and musicians who, in each case, confront personified figures such as the soul, the world, the conscience and the body. Ratis primarily transformed the dialogues in a songlike fashion. Through richly-coloured instrumentation (e.g. psalterium, harp, trombone and baroque guitar) the Ensemble Nuovo Aspetto brings out the various characters in a particularly vivid manner. Several instrumental works of this period have also been included as a supplement.