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Giacinto Prandelli II - Old Italian Airs
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)

Su, venite a consiglio [3:33]
Antonio LOTTI (1667-1740)

Pur dicesti [5:18]
Francesco DURANTE (1684-1755)

Vergin, tutto amor [2:17]
Giovanni Battista BASSANI (c.1657-1716)

Ah se tu dormi ancora [2:18]
Antonio CALDARA (1671-1736)

Sebben, crudele [3:23]
Marco Antonio CESTI (1620-1669)

Intorno all’idol mio [3:04]
Giuseppe GIORDANI (1751-1798)

Caro mio ben [2:52]
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725)

Sento nel core [4:03]
Christoph Willibald von GLUCK (1714-1787)

O del mio dolce ardour [4:11]
Francesco GASPARINI (1661-1727)

Lasciar d’amarti [2:41]
Giovanni LEGRENZI (1626-1690)

Che fiero costume [2:45]
Giovanni Battista PERGOLESI (1710-1736)

Tre giorni son che Nina [2:52]
Gian Giacomo CARISSIMI (c.1604-1674)

Vittoria, mio core! [2:21]
Gaetano DONIZETTI (1797-1848)

Scenes from Lucia di Lammermoor (1835)
Egli s’avanza…Sulla tomba [12:52]
T’allontana, sciagurato [5:01]
Tombe deglia avi miei [16:41]
Giacinto Prandelli (tenor)
Dick Marzollo (piano)
Renata Ferrari Ongaro – Lucia
Tosca Da Lio – Alisa
Philip Marco – Enrico
Norman Scott – Raimondo
Luigi Pontiggia – Arturo
Chorus and Orchestra of the Teatro La Fenice/Jonel Perlea
rec. Italian Arias - 1953 for Vox; Donizetti - 1956 for Remington
PREISER 89680 [77:21]

Fortunately a number of Prandelli’s biggest recording commitments have become widely available of late. His La Bohème with Renata Tebaldi is on Naxos whilst his Adriana Lecouvreur with Carla Gavazzi is on Cetra Warner Fonit. There’s also the Guild 1948 Boito Memorial concert under Toscanini, a live performance that’s well worth getting to know – Prandelli sings Act III of Mefistofele.

Nevertheless this does perhaps give a slightly slanted view of his career; he simply didn’t record as widely or as deeply as his talent deserved and this makes the restoration of his Aria Antiche album for Vox the more valuable. It was made in 1953 with pianist Dick Marzollo. Prandelli employs a litany of expressive and romanticised gestures to bring warmth and drama to these frequently well-loved and oft-sung pieces. Naturally this brings with it Old School metrical disruptions galore; rallentandi, frequent visits to the head voice, and a battery of colouristic inflexions.

In Scarlatti’s Su, venite a consiglio for example we find ritardandi and a considerable variety of dynamic shading the better to convey the emotive narrative of the song. These constant changes of colour and depth of attack, some notes punched out, others caressed, do bring a reservoir of feeling and character – Prandelli is hugely characterful – but can also be a touch disruptive to the actual line, something that I feel most strongly occurs in the Lotti. But of warmth and romance, of gallantry, there is a profusion. Caldara’s Sebben, crudele has a really glamorous sense of narrative conviction, of emotions conveyed with striking immediacy. And there’s something more than a touch Puccinian in his singing of Cesti’s Intorno all’idol mio where we find ardour and legato phrasing on a grand scale. The mezza voce is deployed with care and sincerity – it’s not a mere gadget – and this is fused with reserves of dignity in Caro mio ben. Maybe the Gluck is a touch heavy in places and yes, there’s a dose of verismo exaggeration in the Pergolesi, but I for one forgive him when the results are so personal – and personable. And what a way to end – a stridently macho Vittoria, mio core!

The "fillers" are substantial. There are scenes from the 1956 Remington Lucia di Lammermoor with Renata Ferrari Ongaro to the fore. This is a real rarity never re-released in its entirety to my knowledge. Prandelli is an assured presence and is entirely as impressive as on the two complete opera sets cited above. The voice is well projected and very immediately – in fact too immediately – recorded. All the voices suffer the same overgenerous projection however and we can note that Ongaro’s tone is rather thin in comparison with Prandelli’s vibrant and masculine one.

This is the second of Preiser’s Prandelli volumes. It’s well documented – his career really did embrace some out-of-the-way things – and finely transferred. At the time of writing Prandelli is still with us so let’s hope more volumes will emerge to celebrate his small but valuable recorded legacy.

Jonathan Woolf


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