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Vittoria-Vittoria: A Recital of Seventeenth-Century Italian and English Songs
Richard Wistreich (voice)
Robin Jeffrey (lute and chitarrone)
Celia Harper (chamber organ)
Erin Headly (lirone)
rec. St Margaret's Church, Putney, England 1987
Remastered from analogue mastertapes to High-Definition 24 bit 192 kHz Stereo
Also available on CD CR3710-2

These fifteen songs have been chosen to reflect the diversity of such material available to English singers in the 17th Century. Some are slightly risqué Latin ditties, some are religious, some are love songs. The best-known composers of the period are represented along with some much lesser known. Since all the songs are sung by the same singer and only the accompaniment changes there is a certain sameness for the listener, making continuous listening a poor choice. Each item needs to be savoured and the words followed to make the most of a meticulously planned sequence. One imagines, after reading the background, that such a long list of items would not have been covered in one musical soirée.

The singer Richard Wistreich makes clear in his interesting booklet essay that this recital attempts to reproduce the sort of song recital that might have been given in the houses of the gentry and aristocracy in the 17th century. His aim is not to deliver the music as a professional singer so much as an informed but amateur music-lover singing to a company of friends. As Director of Research at the Royal College of Music, specializing in the cultural history of musical performance, he is well placed to do so. This recording was made in London in 1987 when he was a busy professional singer. He is accompanied by Robin Jeffrey, Celia Harper and Erin Headly, all long-time experts in period performance. It is hard to imagine a better qualified group of musicians to make the case for this sort of domestic performance. So, how does it all sound? Wonderful actually. Apart from the absence of background chatter and the clink of glasses this sounds a very convincing portrayal of an evening in an upper-class home three-hundred years ago. The absolutely silent atmosphere of St Margaret's Putney is superb for a very fine but very simple recording. It all sounds like a quartet of performers sitting between the speakers and playing to the listener. A privilege indeed.

Colin Attwell's determination to keep the technology as pure as possible started many years ago and this analogue recording is the best possible even today. On the DVD Audio disc reviewed there is nothing to limit the sound of those outstanding thirty year old tapes. The notes are detailed and very informative and are accompanied by all the song texts with translations where necessary.

Dave Billinge

Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-1674)
Vittoria, Vittoria [2:14]
Biagio MARINI (1594-1663)
Amante legato [2:35]
Girolamo FRESCOBALDI (1583-1643)
Donna, siam rei di morte [2:50]
Sigismondo d'INDIA (1582-1629)
Che farai, Meliseo/Qual fiera si crudel [4:18]
Henry PURCELL (1659-1695)
Begin the song [7:04]
An Evening Hymn [3:51]
Henry LAWES (1595-1662)
Go lovely rose [2:15]
Night and Day: To his Mistress [1:36]
William LAWES (1602-1645)
Why so pale and wan fond lover? [1:11]
Thomas BREWER (1611-1660)
On Inconstancy [2:01]
Maurizio CAZZATI (1616-1678)
Factum est praelium magnum [4:37]
In calvaria rupe [8:51]
Thomas RAVENSCROFT (1582-1633)
Remember, O thou man [2:32]
John DOWLAND (1563-1626)
In this trembling shadow [5:24]
Thomas CAMPION (1567-1620)
Never weather-beaten sail [2:00]



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