Aureole etc.

Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line

Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


‘Titian: Venice and the Music of Love’
Baldassare DONATO (c1530-1603)

Ahi miserelle [02:07]
Adrian WILLAERT (c1490-1562)

Sempre me ride sta [01:13]
Quando nacesti, Amore [02:57]
Qual dolcezza giamai [04:06]
O dolce mia vita [04:24]
Liete e pensose [03:56]
Francesco DA MILANO (1497-1543)

Fantasia 38 [01:54]
Fantasia 42
Fantasia 33 [03:09]
Francesco SILVESTRINO (fl1540-1550)

O Dio se vede chiaro [02:30]
Diego ORTIZ (c1510-c1570)

O felici occhi miei (after Arcadelt) [01:56]
Sylvestro GANASSI (1492-c1560)

Ricercare no. 3 [01:36]
Ricardo ROGNIONO (ROGNONI) (c1555-c1620)

Ancor che col partire (after De Rore) [05:00]
Andrea GABRIELI (c1510-1586)

Ecco Vinegia bella [03:59]
Cantate Domino [04:12]
Cipriano DE RORE (1516-1565)

Helas comment voulez-vous [03:00]
Ancor che col partire [02:13]
Giovanni BASSANO (c1560-1617)

Ancor che col partire (after De Rore) [03:15]
Giulio (SEGNI) DA MODENA (1498-1561)

Ricercare in e minor [02:02]
Philippe VERDELOT (1475-1552)

Madonna qual certeza [02:48]
Italia mia [03:43]
Girolamo PARABOSCO (1520-1557)

Da pace Domino [01:26]
Concordia: Rachel Elliott (soprano), William Towers (alto), James Gilchrist, Andrew Carwood (tenor), Peter Harvey, Thomas Guthrie, Adrian Peacock (bass), Mark Levy (viola da gamba and director), Reiko Ichise, Emilia Benjamin, Alison McGillivray, Joanna Levine (viola da gamba), David Miller (lute), Gary Cooper (harpsichord)
Recorded in July 2002 in St John’s Church, Loughton, Essex DDD
METRONOME – MET CD 1052 [63:08]
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The painter Titian (1490-1576) was a key figure in the cultural life of Venice in the 16th century. In his ‘Lives of the Artists’, Giorgio Vasari wrote: "His house in Venice has been visited by all the princes, men of letters and distinguished people staying or living in Venice in his time."

There is no doubt that Titian was interested in and knowledgeable about music. Musicians figure in many of his paintings. He may well have played himself, since he once offered a painting to an instrument maker in return for a harpsichord.

Titian had close contacts with some other important artists in Venice, such as Adrian Willaert, Cipriano de Rore, Girolamo Parabosco as well as the publisher Antonio Gardane. These composers are all represented on this CD, which was commissioned and recorded to complement the exhibition ‘Titian’ at the National Gallery in London from February to May 2003.

Music was a central part of public and private life in Venice. Once a visitor wrote: "In every house you can hear the sound of an instrument or singing to accompaniment; everywhere everyone is either making music or hurrying to listen to some." Music was sung and played not only in St Mark’s and the Doge’s palace, but also in the salons and academies of noble patrons and at soirées at the homes of courtesans. This recording reflects the more popular aspects of music making in Venice.

Apart from madrigals, both ‘serious’ and popular, instrumental pieces are played here, either by an ensemble of viols or on the harpsichord and lute. Some of the items on the programme are well-known, like De Rore’s Ancor che col partire, which was arranged by many composers, in particular in form of ‘passaggi’.

Some of the texts are closely related to Venice, like Andrea Gabrieli’s madrigal in praise of the city, ‘Ecco Vinegia bella’ (Lo, beautiful Venice) or Willaerts canzon villanesca ‘Sempre me ride sta’, referring to the specific Venetian phenomenon of the courtesan.

From a recording closely associated with an exhibition one would expect more information than is given here. Mark Levy writes just one page in the booklet about the relationship between Titian and music. There is nothing wrong with it, but he should have given more details about the different musical genres. Also disappointing is the lack of information about the scoring of the individual tracks, and which singer is involved in which piece. Even the types of voices are not given, nor the years of birth and death of the composers.

The interpretation is also somewhat disappointing. For example, the more popular items are sung and played with too much sophistication. There is another recording with repertoire related to Titian, by the ensemble Doulce Mémoire (Astrée E 8847), which performs this kind of music with a lot more flair and imagination. Fortunately only one piece appears on both CDs, but that one is indicative of the differences in the approach. Willaert’s ‘Sempre me ride sta’, mentioned before, is performed like a short operatic scene by Doulce Mémoire, with two voices and instruments, whereas Concordia has opted for a strictly vocal interpretation. As a result it sounds like an English madrigal. A passage like "The silly flirt, the little idiot can only laugh. Ha ha ha! Let’s all laugh to make her happy" should be interpreted much more freely than is the case here.

The vocal ensemble doesn’t always act like a unit, in particular because of the vibrato of some singers.

Some vocal pieces are relatively well done, for example the last item, Verdelot’s ‘Italia mia’, a moving lament about Italy being hit by war ("My Italy, though words are useless for the mortal wounds which I see so numerous in your beautiful body").

Although the instrumental pieces are played reasonably well, I think that a work like the diminutions on ‘Ancor che col partire’ by Ricardo Rognoni is played too much like a piece from the English renaissance. A little more passion please!

Fortunately, this CD and the one by the ensemble Doulce Mémoire are complementary as far as their programmes are concerned. But the interpretation by the French ensemble is more passionate and more idiomatic and imaginative.

Johan van Veen

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Ahi miserelle

A. WILLAERT - Sempre me ride sta

F. DA MILANO - Fantasia 38

F. SILVESTRINO - O Dio se vede chiaro

D. ORTIZ - O felici occhi miei

A. WILLAERT - Quando nacesti, Amore

S. GANASSI - Ricercare No.3

R. ROGNIONO - Ancor che col partire

A. GABRIELI - Ecco Vinegia bella

F. DA MILANO - Fantasia 42

C. DE RORE - Helas comment voulez-vous

A. WILLAERT - Qual dolcezza giamai

A. WILLAERT - O dolce vita mia

A. GABRIELI - Cantate Domino

C. DE RORE - Ancor che col partire

G. BASSANO - Ancor che col partire

G. DA MODENA - Ricercare in E

A. WILLAERT - Liete e pensose

F. DA MILANO - Fantasia 33

P. VERDELOT - Madonna qual certeza

G. PARABOSCO - Da pace Domino

P. VERDELOT - Italia mia


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