Classical The best music site on the web there is where you can read about and listen to blues, jazz, classical music and much more. This is your ultimate music resource. Tons of albums can be found within. Wed, 21 Feb 2024 20:36:08 +0000 Joomla! 1.5 - Open Source Content Management en-gb Colori d'Amore - Simone Kermes (2010) Colori d'Amore - Simone Kermes (2010)

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  1. Il mar de le mie pene
  2. Frondi tenere... Ombra mai fù
  3. Ondeggiante agitato
  4. Cara tomba
  5. Ha vinto Amor... Per combatter con lo sdegno
  6. Dice Tirsi
  7. Più che freme il nembo irato
  8. Canta dolce il rosignolo
  9. Balletto
  10. Qui dove... Torbido irato e nero
  11. Se vedrai avvampar le lucciolette
  12. Fiamma ignota
  13. E'deliquio... Sonno se pur s'è sonno
  14. Chi non sente

Simone Kermes - Soprano (Vocal)
Le Musiche Nove (Ensemble)
Claudio Osele – Director


Under three Habsburg emperors the taste of the imperial court in Vienna was Italian, and that was reflected by the operas which were performed at the court. Italian composers were especially welcome, and many have worked there for some time. In his liner-notes Claudio Osele makes much about the special character of opera in Vienna. "At court, birthdays, name days and marriages were all solemnized with operatic performances that, unaffected by commercial considerations, turned into a wholly Baroque celebration of dynastic power. This encouraged a different, more attentive form of listening, compared with the lively atmosphere that prevailed in the opera houses of Venice or Rome. This more considered and possibly less spectacular approach, in terms of pleasing an audience, spurred composers to write music thay was more refined and innovative, with virtuosity not necessarily the main goal, and more concerned with expressivity and the relationship with the words".

This all sounds plausible, but the fact is that the largest part of this disc consists of music by composers who had no direct relationship - if at all - with the court in Vienna, or of arias from operas which were apparently not performed in Vienna. In most cases the tracklist mentions Rome, Naples and Venice as the cities where the operas were first performed. It was impossible for me to find information about any performances of those operas in Vienna later on. But the fact that most operas figuring in the programme on this disc were written for the places mentioned in the tracklist puts the difference between Vienna and Rome or Venice or Naples in perspective.

Of all the composers represented here Antonio Caldara and Giovanni Bononcini worked for some time in Vienna. The former was vice Kapellmeister and second Court composer since 1716 until his death. His operas Cajo Marzio Coriolano and L'Olimpiade had their premiere in Vienna, but Il nome piů glorioso was first performed in Barcelona in 1709. Giovanni Bononcini worked at the court during the reign of Joseph I; he was engaged in 1698 and left for Rome in 1713. Xerse dates from before his time in Vienna, and was first performed in Rome in 1694. In 1706 his Endimione was performed in Vienna. The appreciation of the emperor for Giovanni was profitable for his younger brother Antonio Maria, who for a while also worked at the court. When Giovanni returned to Rome in 1713 Antonio Maria may have accompanied him. On this disc we hear arias from two of his operas, which were first performed in Reggio Emilia in 1717 (La conquista del vello d'oro and in Rome in 1718 (Griselda) respectively.

Alessandro Scarlatti was from Naples and has worked there as well as in Rome and Venice. Il prigioniero fortunato was performed in 1698 in Naples, Mitridate Eupatore in Venice (1707) whereas Telemaco had its premiere in Rome in 1718. This disc also contains arias from serenatas, like La gloria di Primavera (1716) and Erminia (1723), both performed in Naples. The former is the only composition of Alessandro Scarlatti on this disc which can be related to the Habsburg dynasty. It was written to celebrate the birth of a heir to the imperial throne. The disc ends with an aria from Merope by Riccardo Broschi, first performed in Jaromeritz Castle in Bohemia in 1737. Broschi, the brother of Carlo - better known as Farinelli, the famous castrato - was also from Naples and mostly worked there. His aria is a good example of the Neapolitan style which would capture Italy and large parts of Europe.

So, all in all, the connection between the programme on this disc and opera performances at the court in Vienna is rather loose. That doesn't reduce in any way the value of this disc. Generally I am rather sceptical about recitals of opera arias, and I don't see the point of recordings of arias from operas by Handel, for instance. But discs like this make sense in that they shed light on operas which are largely forgotten. Most operas by the composers who are represented on this disc are never performed or recorded. Ideally discs with this kind of repertoire encourage the performance of the complete operas. In this department there is really no lack of repertoire, and instead of recording Handel's Ariodante or Giulio Cesare for the tenth time, recordings of operas by the likes of Caldara, Bononcini and Alessandro Scarlatti are much to be preferred. Even the least-known composer on this disc, Riccardo Broschi, seems to be a pretty good composer, considering the quality of his aria 'Chi non sente', which is by far the longest on this disc.

The subject of all arias is love - what else would one expect? But there are many ways to approach this subject, as this disc shows. The title 'Colori d'amore', "the colours of love", expresses that. Alessandro Scarlatti's serenata La gloria di Primavera contains the beautiful aria 'Canta dolce il rosignolo', in which the transverse flute represents the nightingale. 'Cara tomba' (Dear tomb) is a highly expressive aria, in which Scarlatti makes abundant use of chromaticism. Scarlatti certainly wasn't averse from virtuosity as 'Ondeggiante agitato' from Il prigioniero fortunato shows: the soprano and the trumpet are involved in a brilliant dialogue, and the A section contains a long passage for both, without any accompaniment, in which they swirl around each other in virtuosic coloraturas.

It is not only the vocal part which deserves attention. The instrumental scoring is often remarkable and considerably contributes to the impact of the arias. That is the case, for instance, with 'Se vedrai avvampar le lucciolette' from Caldara's opera Il nome piů glorioso. In the A section the soprano is accompanied by two oboes, bassoon and bc - the strings only join in the ritornello. In the B section it is the cello which has an obbligato part, supported by strings and bc. In 'Per combatter con lo sdegno' from Caldara's Cajo Marzio Coriolano the violin and the cello have an obbligato part. Delightful is the aria 'Piů che freme il nembo irato' from La conquista del vello d'oro by Antonio Maria Bononcini, which has a solo part for a mandolin - a rarity in baroque operas.

All arias on this disc have at least something which catches the ear, and the programme has been well-chosen in regard to quality of music and variety of character. The features of these arias are fully explored: Simone Kermes makes often much impression with her virtuosic singing, but she also knows how to deal with more introspective and lyrical stuff. Just listen to the refined performance of 'Ombra mai fu', this time from Xerse by Giovanni Bononcini, which Handel used as a model for his aria with the same text. Her performances are generally tasteful and stylish. Only now and then she crosses the border of good taste, for instance in the cadenza in the B section of 'Per combatter con lo sdegno'. In Scarlatti's aria 'Torbido, irato e nero' she sings a cadenza in the dacapo which crosses the range of the aria. But this is only a little blot considering the impressive ease with which she deals with the coloraturas in this aria which move up and down through the whole range of her voice. Le Musiche Nove give excellent support, and the various solo and obbligato parts are nicely executed.

This is a worthy successor to Simone Kermes' previous disc, 'Lava'. It just shows how much great music is in the archives waiting to be discovered. ---Johan van Veen,

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]]> (bluesever) Simone Kermes Fri, 22 Jul 2016 12:06:39 +0000
Simone Kermes - Dramma (2012) Simone Kermes - Dramma (2012)

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1 Per trionfar pugnando - Fom 'Arianna e Teseo'
2 Alto Giove - From 'Polifemo'
3 Vedra turbato il mare - From 'Mitridate'
4 Tace l'augello - From 'Agrippina'
5 Empi se mai disciolgo - From 'Il Germanico'
6 Le limpid'onde - From 'Ifigenia in Aulide'
7 Son qual nave in ria procella - From 'Zenobia in Palmira'
8 Simone Kermes: Consola il genitore - From 'L'Olimpiade'
9 Sul mio cor - From 'Adriano in Siria'
10 Se doppo ria procella - From 'Il Germanico'
11 Lascia ch'io pianga - From 'Rinaldo' 

Simone Kermes - soprano
La Magnifica Comunità (Ensemble)
Isabella Longo - concertmaster


Emblazoned on the title page of many an 18th-century Italian opera libretto, “dramma per musica” soon became the name for the operas composed to those words. The name perfectly evokes the fury of passions which the masterpieces of the period captured with such power.

This collection of astonishing discoveries – many of them heard here in world-premiere recordings – brings together some of the most magnificent arias of the genre. All of them place such huge demands on the singer’s abilities that only the world’s most legendary castratos such as Farinelli and Caffarelli were considered able to do them justice. ---Editorial Reviews,


Simone Kermes’s latest CD of 18th-century opera seria arias is delightful from start to finish. In parallel with Lava and Colori d’amore, its two predecessor discs, Dramma’s contents are shaped according to a pertinent theme – in this case, the formidable talents of the era’s leading castrato sopranos. Most of the operas sampled here had Caffarelli and Farinelli, the two most famous, as their primo uomo; but the programme goes beyond saluting their ability to dazzle with range, agility and tonal brilliance. Showpieces, notably those from Leo’s Zenobia in Palmira (1725) and Porpora’s Germanico in Germania (1732) – with its exhilarating triplet cascades for voice and obbligato horn – alternate with slower airs in which melting delicacy becomes the keynote.

Indeed, the disc’s highlight is ‘Le limpid’onde’ from Porpora’s Ifigenia en Aulide (1735), a pastoral siciliana in a vein of time-stilling enchantment worthy of Handel. The German soprano delivers it, as she does all the numbers (among them Handel’s own ‘Lascia ch’io pianga’), with a spellbinding command of vocal style, mood and tone-colouring. Some people find her singing mannered; I prefer to think of her as the Schwarzkopf of the Baroque – a singer in whom keen intelligence (demonstrated no less in her scholarly booklet note), stylistic sophistication and searching imagination achieve extraordinary artistic combination. Throughout, La Magnifica Comunità, the Padua-based period band, supports her magnificently. ---Max Loppert,

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]]> (bluesever) Simone Kermes Thu, 05 Apr 2018 12:08:16 +0000
Simone Kermes - Love (2016) Simone Kermes - Love (2016)

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01 – Claudio Monteverdi: Lamento della ninfa: Amor, amor
02 – Tarquinio Merula: Folle è ben che si crede
03 – Antoine Boesset: Quelles beautés, ô mortels (Récit de Mnémosyne)
04 – Luis de Briceno: Ay amor loco
05 – Barbara Strozzi: Che si può fare?
06 – Michel Lambert: Sombres déserts
07 – Henry Purcell: If Love’s a Sweet Passion
08 – Francesco Manelli: Grida l’alma a tutt’ ore
09 – Antoine Boesset: Frescos ayres del prado
10 – Tarquinio Merula: Chi vuol ch’io m’innamori
11 – Tarquinio Merula: Chi mi tolse alle sfere! … Lumi potete piangere
12 – John Eccles: I Burn, I Burn
13 – Antonio Cesti: Disserratevi abissi
14 – John Eccles: Restless in Thoughts
15 – John Dowland: Now, O Now I Needs Must Part
16 – Antonio Cesti: Piu bella maestà … Dormi, dormi ben mio
17 – Henry Purcell: Thy Hand Belinda … When I Am Laid in Earth (Dido’s Lament)

Simone Kermes – soprano
La Magnifica Comunita - ensemble
Enrico Casazza - conductor


After a flirtation with the 19th century, soprano Simone Kermes is back on familiar Baroque ground, with a new collection that is once again organized around a theme rather than a place or time or technique. Indeed, Kermes is resolutely not after an ideal of historical performance; she draws together material from four different national traditions (English, French, Spanish, and Italian), and she has one of the players in her small La Magnifica Comunità orchestra rearrange pieces at will to fit the sequence of events in the program. Kermes has the chops to carry off this kind of freedom. Her voice is utterly distinctive and may be a matter of taste, but there are some wonderful pieces here, each of them introduced in the booklet by a trio of adjectives ("Clandestine love -- bashfulness -- inexperience," for Michel Lambert's Sombres déserts, track six). There is a striking range of moods and of vocal qualities to go with them. The program ends with and in some ways builds to Purcell's "When I am laid in earth," which receives a performance of great gravity, but equally interesting if not more so are the obscure pieces that Kermes shapes into a tour of the dangerous emotion. Sample "Che si può fare? ("Yearning -- compassion -- despair," track five) by Barbara Strozzi, who is still more talked about than performed; it's a deliciously messy and modern piece. This is a very strong recital, as well executed as it is original. ---James Manheim, AllMusic Review


This bears a resemblance to Magdalena Kožená’s ‘Lettere Amorose’, which I reviewed in these pages several months back. Both feature artist-driven choices of 17th-century songs and operatic excerpts, one common to both CDs, given with instrumental arrangements that are often none to fussy about appropriate style. Both are personality productions featuring a glamour cover, Simone Kermes’ showing her lying arranged in an alluring pose wearing a long white satin (I think) dress.

If I express a marginal preference for the Kermes there are two reasons. Firstly, it seems rather more structured as a programme, creating the impression that it was intended to build to a climax on the final item, an unfussy if not entirely idiomatic version of ‘Dido’s Lament’. It is a feeling enhanced by an interesting reminder of just how many of love’s complaints were voiced over an ostinato bass in the 17th century. More importantly, there is Kermes’ never less than whole-hearted commitment and that richly lustrous soprano, here at its best when keeping things simple, as in the intimacy of Antoine Boësset’s heartbroken ‘Frescos ayres del prado’ or Merula’s ‘Chi vuol ch’io m’innamori’, where Kermes floats her voice to magical effect.

The downside is accompanying arrangements that range from the innocent to the horrible. One or two tracks sound as if a particularly manic Leonardo García Alarcón has been let loose on them and if you’ve ever felt a desire to hear Dowland’s ‘If love’s a sweet passion’ with a counter melody played on the cornett, well, this is your chance. There is also the air of pretension that hangs over the whole project, best exemplified by the superfluous additional verses quoted in the singer’s introductions, many of them by Shakespeare or John Donne. Like Kožená’s CD, this is one for fans of the singer rather than the general EMR reader. ---Brian Robins,


Sony Classical ma zaszczyt zaprezentować „Love”, kolejny album Simone Kermes, światowej gwiazdy muzyki wokalnej, zdobywczyni licznych nagród krytyki muzycznej. Tym razem diva porywa słuchaczy w muzyczną podróż po świecie miłości, pełną utworów epoki renesansu i baroku.

Na płycie usłyszymy dzieła m. in. Monteverdiego, Purcella, Cestiego, Maruli i Dowlanda. Jest to dotychczas najbardziej osobista płyta artystki. Wszystkie opracowania utworów, dobór instrumentarium, a także sposób nagrania - bliski muzyce pop powodują, że odkrywamy tę muzykę całkowicie na nowo w pełni rozkoszując się kunsztem wokalnym Simone Kermes.

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]]> (bluesever) Simone Kermes Fri, 12 Oct 2018 08:33:49 +0000