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Early Music

Classical Editor: Rob Barnett                               Founder Len Mullenger



Antonio CALDARA (1671-1736)
Cantatas

Amante recidivo (Che speravi)
Non v’è pena
Chiacona
Vedrò senz’onde il mare
Da tuoi lumi
Sempre mi torna in mente
Max Emanuel Cencic (counter-tenor)
Ornamente 99/Karsten Erik Ose
Recorded in Sendesaal, Cologne, October 2004
CAPRICCIO 67 124 [61.56]



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There’s an excellent precedent for this Caldara cantata disc and that’s Max Emanuel Cencic’s previous outings for Capriccio, of which I’ve heard the Scarlatti but not the Vivaldi. He’s clearly a more than useful addition to the roster of international counter-tenors and one with a full command of the Italianate tradition. He essays here five cantatas – an instrumental Chiacona divides them – and shows considerable poise throughout allied to a strong and fluid technique.

That’s vital in the second Aria of Amante recidivo (Che speravi), which has a series of treacherous divisions that could cause a real pile-up. But, backed by the characterful and colourfully individualistic winds of Ornamente 99, Cencic proves imperturbable. There’s particularly fine playing from the flautist in this work. One admires the airiness of textures in Non v’è pena, the aria of which gives its name to the cantata but also the sense of melancholy conveyed. Cencic’s pure toned soprano-countertenor has no strain in the upper part of the voice or spread in the middle or lower down - and certainly no trace of the dreaded hoot. It’s cultivated and very musicianly singing; it doesn’t have the glamorous projection or tone of David Daniels when he essays this repertoire but Cencic comes from a different tradition entirely (he was in the Vienna Boys’ Choir).

Though not all these works are consistently engrossing, at their finest they make a marked impression – try the Aria con violini Peno è ver from Sempre mi torna in mente for an example of wistful harmonies floated with perfect judgement. Both Cencic and Ornamente 99 are generously subtle in their responses and praise must go to Karsten Erik Ose for his adept ear for balance and colour. Sound quality is attractive and there are texts with translations into English, German and French.

Jonathan Woolf



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