Founding Editor Rob Barnett Editor in Chief
John Quinn Contributing Editor Ralph Moore Webmaster
David Barker Postmaster
Jonathan Woolf MusicWeb Founder Len Mullenger
review may be sent to:
76 Lushes Road
Essex IG10 3QB
Arie di bravura -Diana
Damrau Antonio SALIERI (1750–1825) Cublai, gran Khan dei Tartari: 1. Fra i barbari sospetti [3:33] Vincenzo RIGHINI (1756–1812)
Il natal d’Apollo:
2. Ove son? Qual’aure io spiro [7:07] Antonio SALIERI
3. Numi, respiro … Ah, lo sento [6:23] Vincenzo RIGHINI
Il natal d’Apollo:
4. Ombra dolente [4:00] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART (1756–1791)
5. O zittre nicht [4:27]
6. Der Hölle Rache [2:58] Antonio SALIERI Cublai, gran Khan dei Tartari: 7. D’un insultante orgoglio [4:23] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART Lucio Silla: 8. In un istante ... Parto, m’affretto [6:28] Antonio SALIERI
9. Basta, vincesti … Ah, non lasciarmi [2:58]
10. Sento l’amica speme [6:33] Wolfgang Amadeus MOZART
11. Basta, vincesti ... Ah, non lasciarmi, K295a
[6:21] Antonio SALIERI
12. Quando più irato freme [6:25]
La finta scema:
13. Se spiegar potessi appieno [4:58]
Le Cercle de l’Harmonie/Jérémie Rhorer
rec. Eglise Notre-Dame du Liban, Paris, 17–24 December 2006
texts and translations included VIRGIN CLASSICS
I know Diana Damrau’s voice
from a couple of complete recordings. With this background I expected
pinpoint accuracy, easy delivery,
beautiful but fairly thin tone with some edge to it, well
controlled vibrato, expressive readings and good enunciation.
I got what I expected on this recital – as far as I know her
first solo disc. This is highly accomplished music-making,
technically infallible and engaging.
The title of the disc “Arie di bravura” is certainly apt since every
piece is a demonstration of stunning vocal fireworks, but
this doesn’t imply that the music is musically vacuous. What
is more the selection we are offered is mostly un-hackneyed.
Even the Mozart items, apart from the Queen of the Night arias,
are far from standard. When it comes to Salieri he is probably
better known, not least through the film Amadeus, for
his part as a rival and once supposed murderer of Mozart than
for his music. Righini may not even be a name to some readers.
Much of this music has been collecting dust in archives for
more than 200 years. Diana Damrau says in the booklet that
when she was searching material for this disc she “was provided
with around 50 kg of illegible handwritten orchestral scores
of masterpieces that had never or rarely been performed”.
I agree with her that this is highly attractive music and
it is a shame that it has been hidden away for so long. Salieri’s
music has been performed and recorded before, even complete
operas. I have a Falstaff by him that may not be his
masterpiece but it has a great deal to offer. It is well-crafted
music and inspired too. But the two Righini arias were the
real finds, especially the second of them (tr. 4), which is
an evocative piece with sparse ‘minimalist’ accompaniment,
over which the soloist sails in weightless cantilenas, expressing
longing for death.
I mentioned Ms Damrau’s expressiveness and in the two arias
Zauberflöte - music that I have heard an infinite number
of times - she made me listen anew. She creates a touching
portrait of this evil but basically unhappy woman, and even
manages to avoid making a show of the stratospheric excursions.
I believe that Salieri had the great misfortune to be contemporaneous
with Mozart and thus unfavourably compared to the younger
composer. Time and again on this disc one registers how good
he was, D’un insulante orgoglio from Cublai, gran
Khan dei Tartari (tr. 7) perhaps the best example. It
is a two part aria, starting dramatically with a slow and
lyrical second part. Even Mozart would have been proud to
have written a piece like this. His aria from Der Rauchfangkehrer,
a setting of a Metastasio text, is both beautiful and evocative.
Interestingly Mozart set the same test in his concert aria
K295a, which is also included on this disc and invites comparison.
Like so many of his concert arias this is marvellous music
and the only reason why these pieces are not well known is
the fact that they are concert arias with no known connection
to a story. Most of us are unaware of his early opera Lucio
Silla, but we instinctively feel that this is dramatically
effective music, written by a 16-year-old! It too is littered
The last two Salieri arias are also virtuoso pieces of the highest
order, leaving the listener breathless and wondering how Diana
Damrau can sing them without losing her breath.
The orchestra, playing on period instruments, was new to me. Their
playing is spirited and assured and together recording engineer,
orchestra, conductor and singer have made a disc that is superb
in all respects. There is a good essay, Prima la voce,
on the music and full texts and translations are included.
from previous months Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the
discs reviewed. details We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to
which you refer.