Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Lamenti - Emmanuelle Haim, Le Concert d'Astree







Lamentation may be the theme of this collection of vocal music from the Italian Baroque, but the line-up of artists gives ample cause for celebration. After her recent all-star Virgin Classics recording of Bach's Magnificat and Handel's Dixit Dominus, Emmanuelle Haïm has chosen an exceptional and diverse array of soloists for this programme of vocal works by Monteverdi, Carissimi, Cavalli, Cesti, Landi and Strozzi. The literary and dramatic form of the lamento reached its musical apogee in the 17th century with Monteverdi's Lamento d'Arianna, a fragment from a lost opera. The abandoned princess is sung here by Véronique Gens, who made such an impression with her Virgin Classics recital Tragédiennes. Another abandoned woman, this time a nymph, is embodied by the sylph-like Natalie Dessay in the same composer's Lamento della ninfa fromEmmanuelle Haïm the Eighth Book of Madrigals, while his song of Orpheus is entrusted to intense Mexican tenor Rolando Villazón, the maybe unexpected hero in Haïm's 2006 Virgin Classics recording of Monteverdi's Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda. More Monteverdi comes from Joyce DiDonato, the superb American mezzo who recently signed to EMI/Virgin Classics as an exclusive artist; she dons the mantle of a deposed Empress for Ottavia's farewell to Rome from L'incoronazione di Poppea. More recent royal history is gracefully addressed by Patrizia Ciofi in Carissimi's Lamento di Maria Stuarda, while Philippe Jaroussky brings his brilliant countertenor to Barbara Strozzi's dramatic monologue L'Eraclito amoroso, probably written for the composer to sing herself. The Finn Topi Lehtipuu, described by the Daily Telegraph as "one of the most elegant and musical young lyric tenors to have emerged for a decade" portrays Aeneas in a setting by Cavalli; the British baritone Christopher Purves gives evidence of his stylistic range – he is also an exceptional Wozzeck – in Landi, while France's reigning bass-baritone, Laurent Naouri becomes the Beotian king Atamante in Cesti's Dure noie. Completing the line-up are the lush-voiced Canadian mezzo Marie-Nicole Lemieux and the young British tenor Simon Wall, reaffirming that lovers of fine singing will have nothing to complain about...

Composer:  Pier Francesco Cavalli,  Claudio Monteverdi,  Barbara Strozzi,  Giacomo Carissimi,  Stefano Landi, Pietro Antonio Cesti
Performer:  Rolando Villazón,  Christopher Purves,  Simon Wall,  Natalie Dessay,  Topi Lehtipuu, Philippe Jaroussky,  Véronique Gens,  Joyce DiDonato,  Patrizia Ciofi, Marie-Nicole Lemieux,  Laurent Naouri


flac, covers

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