Aureole etc.




Golden Age singers

Nimbus on-line




Faure songs
Charlotte de Rothschild (soprano);

  Founder: Len Mullenger
Classical Editor: Rob Barnett


Some items
to consider

 


Enjoy the Gothenburg Symphony Orchestra wherever you are. App available for iOS and Android


Tudor 7188


Vaughan Williams Symphony 3 etc.


Lyrita New Recording


Lyrita Premiere Recordings

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage

Lyrita 4CDs £16 incl.postage


Decca Phase 4 - 40CDs


Judith Bailey, George Lloyd


BAX Orchestral pieces


CASKEN Violin Concerto

Schumann Symphonies Rattle


Complete Brahms
Bargain price

 

 

 

 

REVIEW



Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
Atoll
CDAccord
Cameo Classics
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly review listing
sample
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS

Santo - Sacred Songs
Johann Joseph FUX (1660-1741)
Alleluja (Plaudite, sonat tuba)

César FRANCK (1822-1890)
Panis angelicus
(1872)
Adolphe Charles ADAM (1803-1856)
Cantique de Noël (O Holy Night)
(1847)
Vincenzo BELLINI (1801-1835)
Qui sedes
from Mass in A minor
George Frideric HANDEL (1685-1759)
Comfort ye - Ev’ry valley
from Messiah (1742)
Gioacchino ROSSINI (1792-1868)
Domine Deus
from Petite Messe solennelle (1864 & 1867), Qui tollis; Gratias agimus tibi from Messa di gloria (1820)
Franz SCHUBERT (1797-1828)
Ave Maria
(1825)
Joseph HAYDN (1732-1809)
Mit Würd’ und Hoheit angetan
from Die Schöpfung (The Creation) (1796-1798)
Ariel RAMÍREZ (1921-2010)
Kyrie
from Misa criolla (1964)
John Francis WADE (1711-1786)
Adeste fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful)
(credited with)
Juan Diego FLÓREZ (b. 1973)
Santo

Juan Diego Flórez (tenor)
Nicoletta Mezzini (organ, harpsichord)
Ulrich Stephan Breddermann (trumpet: Fux)
Luca Milani (clarinet: Bellini)
Gianluca Pellegrino (cor anglais: Rossini)
Carlos Ayala (guitar: Florez), Armando ‘Pani’ Becerra (charango, siku: Florez), Edgar Espinoza Espinoza (quenas: Florez)
Coro del Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Paolo Vero
Orchestra del Teatro Comunale di Bologna/Michele Mariotti
rec. Teatro Manzoni, Bologna, Italy, 15-27 January 2010, DDD
Booklet enclosed with notes in English, French, German and sung texts in the original with translations in English, French, German
DECCA 478 2254 [67.00]

Experience Classicsonline


According to Flórez’s own words: “Sooner or later a tenor has to record a sacred CD; it’s part of the life of a tenor…”. With Santo, he is fulfilling what he sees as a tenor’s obligation. Whether one agrees with his statement or not is irrelevant; what is important is that although his CD contains some very popular pieces, it is neither your average recital of sacred songs nor your usual recording of Christmas Carols. To my mind, the difference is, on the one hand, the inclusion of pieces by Rossini that are seldom sung and, on the other, a short composition by Flórez himself. These features combined with carefully selected pops make for an irresistible anthology, which one will want to listen to any time of the year. It is bound to appeal to any person who loves music and singing, irrespective of their religious beliefs or lack.

Flórez is here in great form and exceptionally fine voice. In his customary style, he glides effortlessly through the coloratura pieces. He delivers sparkling vocal fireworks, as easily as if he was chatting with a friend over lunch and this is accomplished in his crystal clear trademark manner. Additionally, his impeccable legato and elegant, refined phrasing shine through in the more delicate and intimate songs.
 
The most accomplished moments of this recital are arguably the compositions by Rossini. I say arguably because Flórez’s singing is outstanding in every single piece. That said it is patent that Rossini is the composer whose music he feels most comfortable with. He states as much in the booklet notes when he says that “Rossini is special; it clicks well…”!
 
In Santo, Flórez offers three pieces by Rossini, two of which, Qui tollis and Gratias agimus tibi, from the composer’s Messa di Gloria, are seldom heard. I cannot remember any tenor in recent times that has recorded them or even sung them in concert. Both pieces are ideal for his voice and very much in the bel canto tradition of the first half of the 19th Century, with which Flórez has made his name. The pieces were originally written for two different tenors but he decided to do both and delivers them with exceptional quality: His technique is flawless and while he undoubtedly chose them to showcase his voice, he never allows virtuosity to overwhelm the music. His performance is tasteful, well judged and incredibly beautiful. The third Rossini offering is Domine Deus from his better known Petite Messe solennelle and again Flórez’s performance is simply superb, giving the listener the impression that the composer had him specifically in mind when writing the piece. Staying with thebel canto repertoire of the first half of the 19th Century, the tenor then gives us a piece by Bellini, Qui sedes, from the composer’s Mass in A Minor. It is a lovely, melodic excerpt introduced by a rather pretty clarinet solo, lovingly played by Luca Milani. Flórez does it full justice delivering the goods with great sensibility and bright, sparkling high notes that warm the heart.
 
Besides Rossini and Bellini, Flórez sings - and I believe for the first time - Handel and Haydn. Handel is a logical choice for a tenor of his kind: The composer’s writings for voice fall definitely in the bel canto category, as he often composed for some of the greatest castrato singers of his time and, as is generally known, the notion of bel canto comes from the age of the castrati. Haydn is perhaps a choice that one would not immediately associate with Juan Diego Flórez but he does sing Mozart rather beautifully; so why not Haydn? Besides, who wouldn’t wish to sing something from Die Schöpfung, one of the composer’s most magnificent works and arguably his masterpiece? Flórez’s rendition of Mit Würd’ und Hoheit angetan is exceptionally sung; he is convincing and appears to feel the text deeply, even though, in the booklet notes, he says that the German language does not come naturally to his Latin sensibility! While this may be true - he appears slightly hesitant with some words, particularly where a vowel has an “umlaut” as in breitgewölbt or Frühlings - or a word has the “ch” sound as in aufgerichtet or lächelt - he sings with great clarity and expression, and does not sound artificial at all. On the other hand, his reading of Handel’s Comfort ye - Ev’ry valley did not quite convince me. The piece is technically flawless, effectively delivered; however, it comes across as a little too academic and dry, lacking emotion. While Flórez may feel comfortable with English, it actually appears otherwise.
 
As for the most popular pieces in this recital, the singing is also excellent: Fux’s Alleluia really suits his voice and he does a great job with it, engaging in a joyful “dialogue” with the clear trumpet playing of Ulrich Stephan Breddermann who is in strong form here. Franck’s Panis angelicus, Wade’s Adeste fideles or Ramírez’s Kyrie are for a singer of Flórez’s calibre almost like a walk in the park! He sails through them with effortless confidence and his youthful, bright timbre gives the pieces an appealing freshness that I have seldom heard before. For Schubert’s Ave Maria, Flórez chose to sing the better known text in Latin, which reflects the traditional Roman Catholic prayer “Ave Maria”, instead of the lesser known original, which was part of a set of seven songs that Schubert wrote for Walter Scott’s epic poem The Lady of the Lake. I was slightly disappointed with his choice; however, the delicacy of his legato line and the subtle manner in which he performs the piece more than compensate for the religious text, which differs from the context of Scott’s poem. As for Adam’s Cantique de Noël, Flórez cleverly decided to sing the first strophe in French and the second in English, which appeals to a wider audience. His interpretation of Adam’s piece, which is too often (and not so well) sung, is truly radiant. It is not a difficult piece to sing for a tenor like Flórez but he sings it with irresistible warmth. I found his rendition deeply moving and it made me really enjoy the song as if I was hearing it for the first time.
 
Finally and as the last offer of the CD, Flórez introduces a composition of his own, Santo, which gives the album its title. It is a short piece (only 3:38) and it clearly demonstrates the tenor’s confidence in himself as an artist. In the notes, he states that composing and orchestrating are his hobby, thus indicating that he is not completely serious about it; however, he was serious enough to record it. It is a religious piece of sorts. The lyrics refer to the Lord God of the Universe and that heaven and earth are full of His glory. It draws deeply on Flórez’s own national roots, with Peruvian folk music and rhythms, as well as real Peruvian instruments and a reference to the Peruvian Andes in the text. To me, these Peruvian features are what make the piece attractive and give it a certain originality. The melody is pretty enough and designed to make his voice shine, which it does. There are some interesting orchestral moments and his use of the chorus is respectable, underlining the natural beauty of his tone and lending the piece some class.
 
The orchestra and coro del Teatro Communale di Bologna are in excellent form throughout and are effectively led by young Michelle Mariotti, a sympathetic conductor very much in tune with Flórez’s artistry and style of singing.
 
All in all and although I am not one who really goes for sacred music, I thoroughly enjoyed this recital. The recording is elegant and stylish from an accomplished, confident artist, at the top of his powers. The singing is outstanding and one easily forgets that one is listening to sacred music, as it refreshingly feels like a night at the opera!
 
Margarida Mota-Bull
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

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

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      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

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

Nostalgia

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

Comment
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

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
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
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
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
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
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.