One of the most grown-up review sites around

54,416 reviews
and more.. and still writing ...

Search MusicWeb Here



International mailing

Founder: Len Mullenger                                    Editor in Chief:John Quinn             

Some items
to consider


paid for


100th birthday of Mieczyslaw Weinberg on December 8, 2019.
Renate Eggbrecht has recorded all 3 violin Sonatas

FOGHORN Classics

Mozart Brahms
Clarinet Quintets

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Click to see New Releases
Get 10% off using code musicweb10

Nimbus Podcast

Obtain 10% discount

Special offer 50% off
15CDs £83 incl. postage

Musicweb sells the following labels

Altus 10% off
Atoll 10% off
CRD 10% off
Hallé 10% off
Lyrita 10% off
Nimbus 10% off
Nimbus Alliance
Prima voce 10% off
Red Priest 10% off
Retrospective 10% off
Saydisc 10% off
Sterling 10% off

Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing

Sample: See what you will get

Editorial Board
MusicWeb International
Founding Editor
Rob Barnett
Editor in Chief
John Quinn
Seen & Heard
Editor Emeritus
   Bill Kenny
MusicWeb Webmaster
   David Barker
Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb Founder
   Len Mullenger



Advertising on

Donate and keep us afloat



Recordings of the Month


From Ocean’s Floor


Conner Riddle Songs

Rodzinski Sibelius

Of Innocence and Experience


Symphonies 1, 2, 3


CD: AmazonUK AmazonUS
Download: Classicsonline

La Voce di Orfeo - Gli amori di Francesco Rasi 1574-1621
[Amor che deggio far]
Eduardo EGÜEZ
Benedetto FERRARI (1603-1681)
Io son amante di un crin aurato [04:29]
Francesco RASI (1574-1621)
Fillia mia, Filli dolce [02:02]
Torquato TASSO (1544-1595)
Amor l'ali m'impenna (spoken text) [01:36]
Sigismondo D'INDIA (1582-1629)
Vorrei bacarti, o Filli [01:55]
Eduardo EGÜEZ
Passamezzo [01:32]
Giulio CACCINI (1546-1618)
Dolcissimo sospiro [02:16]
Dalla porta d'Oriente [03:52]
[Vedrò il mio sol]
Eduardo EGÜEZ
Sinfonia [01:46]
Claudio MONTEVERDI (1567-1643)
L'Orfeo: Rosa del ciel [02:18]
Francesco RASI
È si lieto il mio core [01:57]
Marc'Antonio GONDI (?-?)
In morte di Madonna (spoken text) [01:02]
Francesco RASI
Dove misero mai [01:13]
L'Orfeo: Solo di arpa [01:08]
Sigismondo D'INDIA
Cara mia cetra [01:50]
Vedrò il mio sol [03:53]
Francesco RASI
Un guardo ohime ch'io moro [01:47]
Sigismondo D'INDIA
Che vegg'io ohimè [07:08]
[Vattene pur crudel]
Eduardo EGÜEZ
Sinfonia [0:51]
Et è pur dunque vero [05:54]
Ottavio RINUCCINI (1562-1621)
Sfogava con le stelle (spoken text) [01:03]
Sigismondo D'INDIA
Sovente allor [03:33]
JOSQUIN DESPREZ (1450-1521), arr Eduardo EGÜEZ
Mille regretz, diminutions for lute [01:54]
Porte celato il mio nobil pensiero [03:44]
Antonio BRUNELLI (1575-1630)
Non havea Febo ancora [02:28]
Furio Zanasi (baritone); Giulio Casati (narrator)
La Chimera/Eduardo Egüez
rec. January 2009, Église de Notre-Dame de l'Assomption, Basse-Bodeux, Belgium. DDD
NAIVE E 8925 [62:36]


Experience Classicsonline


This disc is devoted to Francesco Rasi, one of Italy's most famous singers around 1600. He was born into an aristocratic family and early on determined to become a professional musician. And that wasn't easy at that time. In his programme notes Philippe Canguilhem writes: "Rasi represents an instance - frequent at the time - of the musician of noble descent cursed with a disturbed, restless character, the consequence of a veritable existential schizophrenia: (...) Rasi was torn between his prodigious musical gifts, which gained him a reputation at court and the appreciation of the prince [The Duke of Mantua], and the desire to assert his aristocratic status, which for him was incompatible with exercising his art in the same way as a professional musician whose connection with the prince was one of servile dependence." From this he explains Rasi's urge to travel as this was a way to distinguish himself from the ordinary musician who didn't have the opportunity to travel at will.
Rasi's reputation as a singer was such that he participated in many opera performances in the first decade of the 17th century. He, for instance, sang in the first performances of the very first opera in history, Jacopo Peri's Euridice, in 1600. In that same year he sang in the opera 'Il rapimento di Cefalo' by Giulio Caccini, who had also been his singing teacher. It is very likely he also realised the title role in the first performance of Monteverdi's opera Orfeo in 1607. The next year he sang in Monteverdi's 'Arianna' and in 'Dafne' by Marco da Gagliano. During his whole career he travelled through Italy, but also visited the Low Countries, Prague and Salzburg. In 1610 he was sentenced in Tuscany to be hung, drawn and quartered for the murder of his stepmother's servant. But his reputation was such that he got away with it, thanks in particular to the protection of the Gonzagas who let him flee to Turin.
Rasi not only acted as a singer, but published his own poems, and he also wrote music. His only opera has been lost, but a number of monodies, written in the style of Caccini, have been preserved. Some of them have been recorded here.
The disc is divided into three sections each of which is introduced by a Sinfonia, written by the director of La Chimera, Eduardo Egüez, in the musical language of the time. In the first part we hear two pieces by Caccini, who claimed to have laid the foundations of the seconda prattica. Also in this part is a madrigal by Sigismondo D'India, one of the most important composers in that style. Like Rasi he was a nobleman, born in Palermo at Sicily. He has become mainly known for his monodies, but he also composed madrigals, motets and villanellas.
The first vocal piece of this disc is by Benedetto Ferrari who was nicknamed 'della tiorba', a reference to the instrument he played. In his time the monody was an established phenomenon and well past its experimental stage. The inclusion of his aria 'Io son amante di un crin aurato' is a bit odd as Francesco Rasi had already died when Ferrari's music began to be printed. But then, this disc doesn't pretend to offer music which Rasi could actually have sung himself. It just gives some idea of the kind of music which was performed at his time in which he played such an important role.
The second section revolves around the character of Orpheus. It is Rasi's likely performance of the role of Orfeo in Monteverdi's opera which has given this disc its title: "The voice of Orpheus". Two extracts from this opera are surrounded by pieces by d'India, Caccini and Rasi himself, as well as the long monody 'Che vegg'io ohimè' by Sigismondo d'India. One might compare this with recitative as we know it from the opera of the late baroque. It is written in free style, and the singer should strictly follow the rhythm of the text rather than that of the music. It is of utmost importance to sing this work in a highly declamatory style which permits expression of every emotional shade in the text. This is what Caccini called recitar cantando, speech-like singing. Furio Zanasi's performance is a brilliant demonstration of what that means.
The third section is devoted to "impossible love and the sufferings it causes". An example is the poem by Ottavio Rinuccini, 'Sfogava con le stelle', set to music by many composers, but here recited by Giulio Casati: "One sick from love, under the night sky, poured out his grief to the stars".
This section also contains Eduardo Egüez's diminutions on Josquin's famous chanson 'Mille regretz', which are included as a tribute to Rasi in his capacity as a player of the chitarrone. The disc ends with a setting of 'Non havea Febo ancora', known from the famous setting of Monteverdi. We get here the version of Antonio Brunelli, an interesting contemporary of Rasi whose music hasn't really been explored yet. This setting is very different from Monteverdi's and quite surprising, but I'm not going to give the details here.
This whole disc is an impressive demonstration of what exactly recitar cantando means. Any performer who wants to sing (or play) Italian music from the early 17th century should listen to this and learn from it. Every detail in the text is expressed, all affetti are explored to the full. Furio Zanasi does not have the sort of voice that immediately appeals to me, but the way he uses it to express the text and all the emotions it carries is just amazing and gripping. A singer must always tell a story, and that is exactly what Zanasi is doing here in a most impressive way. How nice it is to hear a singer who understands the variety of the ornamentation composers like Caccini required from their singers and who is actually able to apply it correctly. And how good to hear a true messa di voce, which was such an important tool of expression.
Let us not forget the players: they follow Zanasi every step of the way, and underline the text with inflections in tempo and dynamics. The various instruments are also used in a most appropriate manner, thus underlining the character of every single piece.
In short, this is a magnificent recording which I can't praise highly enough. I already know for sure that this disc is going to be one of my discs of the year.
Johan van Veen



Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews


      Composer surveys
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site


Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure



Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Pat and present

Helpers invited!

How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips

Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Other links
Web News sites etc

A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools

Untitled Document

Reviews 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 Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.