Francesco CAVALLI (1602-1676)
Raquel Andueza (soprano) & Xavier Sabata (countertenor)
José Manuel Navarro (violin)
Pablo Prieto (violin)
Vega Montero (violone)
Manuel Vilas (arpa doppia)
Josep María Martí (archlute)
Jesús Fernández Baena (artistic direction & theorbo)
rec. April 2015, Fundació Auditori Palau de Congressos, Girona, Spain
Sung texts provided, with English translations
ANIMA E CORPO AEC006 [67.31]
Under the title Miracolo d'Amore (Miracle of Love) instrumental and vocal ensemble La Galanía has turned its attention to the early Baroque era with an album of music by Italian composer Francesco Cavalli. The release comprises fifteen arias and love duets for soprano and alto and three orchestral pieces selected from Cavalli’s operas. Soprano Raquel Andueza explains how the programme was arranged, “To make it hang together better we decided to create our own mini-opera with the arias we had chosen.”
From the generation after Claudio Monteverdi, Cavalli was born in 1602 at Crema, Lombardy in Northern Italy; spending most of his life in Venice he became a core figure and luminary in the city’s musical life. Cavalli is best known for producing most probably in excess of 30 operas chiefly for Venetian theatres. Initial interest in Cavalli was sparked in 1952 with Carlo Maria Giulini’s revival of Didone in Florence and Raymond Leppard staged the operas L’Ormindo and La Calisto at Glyndebourne in 1967 and 1970 respectively. In recent decades Cavalli’s music has been receiving increasing attention and the 2015 album L’amore innamorato from L’Arpeggiata directed by Christina Pluhar on Erato won considerable critical praise.
La Galanía made its debut at Pamplona Cathedral, Spain in 2010. Specialising in Baroque music from the 17th and 18th century, the ensemble uses period-instruments and its performances are based on scrupulous historical research. At the heart of La Galanía is renowned Spanish soprano Raquel Andueza who is co-founder with artistic director and theorbo player Jesús Fernández Baena.
Infused throughout this album is the theme of love and the voices of soprano Raquel Andueza and countertenor Xavier Sabata in the alto parts are both strikingly well suited to the twists and turns of the writing. Throughout, Andueza and Sabata demonstrate outstanding consistency of performance; nevertheless there are three pieces that stand out. Andueza sings the aria ‘Misero, così va’ from the opera Eliogabalo with considerable feeling, as Alessandro, expressing sorrow about her unfaithful lover. Supple, with a warm and attractive timbre, Andueza is eminently suited to this repertoire. In the title role of the opera Giasone the aria ‘Delizie contenti’ is delivered by impressive countertenor Sabata with rapt tenderness, communicating authentic feeling for the text, lamenting that he can take no more of the joys of love. With the ability to move the listener, Sabata is in radiant form displaying his bright decisive tone, excellent projection with little sense of strain. Standing out amongst the 9 duets in the programme is ‘Dolcissimi baci’ from Cavalli’s most popular opera La Calisto. Portraying the amorous relationship of Diana and Endimione the voices of Andueza and Sabata blend together marvellously, making light work of the expressive demands of the writing.
The instrumentalists of La Galanía are directed here by theorbo player Jesús Fernández Baena and bring out extensive nuances from the writing, performing with style, together with responsive use of tempo. Recorded at Fundació Auditori Palau de Congressos in Girona, the engineering team has provided satisfying sound with pleasing clarity and excellent balance between the voices and the instrumental group. Raquel Andueza provides a couple of rhapsodic articles relating to this recording project with Xavier Sabata and an essay by Lorenzo Biaconi titled The Musical Miracles of Francesco Cavalli includes references to most of the pieces chosen for the programme.
Both new and established Cavallians are in for a real treat with this album Miracolo d'Amore a judiciously chosen collection of arias and duets beautifully played and recorded on Anima e Corpo.
1. Sinfonia [2.27]
2. Miracolo d’amore (L'Ormindo, 1644) - soprano [2.16]
3. O mio core, o mio amore (Giasone, 1649) - duet [2.51]
4. Un talamo ed un letto (L'Ormindo, 1644) - duet [2.53]
5. Delizie contenti (Giasone, 1649) - countertenor [4.49]
6. Sinfonia (Egisto, 1643) [2.07]
7. Misero, così va (Eliogabalo, 1667) - soprano [5.14]
8. Ti lasso, mia vita (Giasone, 1649) - duet [3.36]
9. Misero Apollo (Gli amori d'Apollo e di Dafne, 1640) - countertenor [5.38]
10. Ah, questo è il fine amaro (Erismena, 1655) - duet [3.55]
11. Se dardo pungente (Giasone, 1649) - soprano [3.58]
12. Ballo (instrumental) (Le nozze di Teti e di Peleo, 1639) [1.15]
13. Or che l’aurora (Egisto, 1643) - duet [8.34]
14. Vieni in questo seno (Rosinda, 1851) - soprano [4.15]
15. Amanti, sperate (Egisto, 1643) - duet [3.19]
16. Dolcissimi baci (La Calisto, 1651) - duet [4.17]
17. Che dunque sarà (Elena, 1659) - duet [3.12]
18. Io t’abbraccio (Pompeo Magno, 1666) - duet [2.34]