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RECORDING OF THE MONTH


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Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741)
Heroes
Orlando finto pazzo - Se in ogni guardo (1714) [3:11]
Giustino - Vedro con mio diletto (1724) [5:11]
Ottone in villa - Frema pur, si lagni Roma (1713) [4:24]
L'Olimpiade - Mentre dormi amor fomenti [7:42]
Tito Manlio - Vanne perdida... Frà le procelle (1718) [5:05]
Andromeda liberata - Sovente il sole (1726) [9:23]
Demofoonte - Sperai vicino il lido [5:36]
Giustino - Deh perché... Bel riposo de'mortali (1724) [4:15]
Il Tigrane - Farà la mia spada [2:44]
Tieteberga - Sento in seno [4:06]
Orlando furioso - Cara sposa (1713; 1714 version) [2:41]
Farnace - Perdona o figlio amato (1731; 1738 version) [6:29]
Orlando finto pazzo - Alla rosa ruggiadosa [2:22]
Philippe Jaroussky (counter-tenor)
Ensemble Matheus/Jean-Christophe Spinosi
rec. Auditorium de l’Ecole Nationale de Musique, de Danse et d’Art Dramatique, Brest, July 2006 
VIRGIN CLASSICS 00946 363414 2 2 [63:15]

 


Jaroussky proves a most eloquent exponent of Vivaldian opera in this astutely chosen selection of arias. There’s often debate – sometimes fruitful and sometimes futile – as to what kind of counter-tenor we are dealing with. With Daniels, Scholl and the like we can range freely over just what kind of colour they evoke, just where the voice is strongest, richest and most voluptuous and penetrating – whether there are mezzo tints or whatever. Jaroussky is in a sense rather simpler to place. He has a voice that is most powerful – remarkably even phenomenally so – at the top of its range. It’s a very feminine voice as well, explicitly so in timbre, and one capable of the most fluid and athletic technical control – some of the divisions are taken with rapier like incision and pitching and unholy assurance.

Yet it’s when he sings slowly and softly that the full range of his expressive control becomes apparent. Vedro con mio diletto from Giustino is sung with limpid diminuendi and followed by subtle off beat accompaniment by the fine Ensemble Matheus under Jean-Christophe Spinosi. These qualities are only reinforced by the gorgeously liquid legato in Mentre dormi amor fomenti. He projects with surety and never uses texts for anything less than musical reasons – no vowel elongations or over crisply detonated consonants for example. Throughout he maintains real beauty of tone.

He takes even so difficult an aria as Frà le procelle with excellent breath control and pinpoint accuracy. Jaroussky is accompanied by a violin soloist, presumably Spinosi himself, in Sovente il sole, the most extensive aria here – it’s slow, full of colour and sensitive shading and more trademark divisions surmounted with eye popping ease. Perhaps inevitably one hears that in Sperai vicino il lido the lower part of the voice is slightly less resonant than is ideal. Still the clarion top, so fluted and precisely soprano in orientation, reasserts itself in Farà la mia spada and evidence that Jaroussky can fine down his tone and the speed of his vibrato comes in Sento in seno.

In short this is a most convincing and successful recital – varied and nuanced.  Ensemble Matheus prove ever-sensitive colleagues with instrumental strands of colour and definition. The texts are in Italian, German, English and French. Most impressive all round.

Jonathan Woolf 

 


 

 


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Recordings of the Month

November


Donizetti - Le Convenienze ed Inconvenienze Teatrali


Chamber Symphonies 2 & 4


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October


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