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Alessandro Scarlatti - Disperato Amore (2005)

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Alessandro Scarlatti - Disperato Amore (2005)

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1 Cantata ombre tacite e sole: I. Recitativo: Ombre tacite e sole		2:11 	
2 Cantata ombre tacite e sole: II. Aria: Con piede errante e lasso	3:57 	
3 Cantata ombre tacite e sole: III. Recitativo: Qui, tra tenebre oscure	1:36 	
4 Cantata ombre tacite e sole: IV. Aria: Allor d'intorno a te	4:37 	
5 Cantata bella quanto crudel spietata Irene: I. Recitativo: Bella quanto crudel	0:42 	
6 Cantata bella quanto crudel spietata Irene: II. Aria: Se delitto è l'amarti cos tante	3:35 	
7 Cantata bella quanto crudel spietata Irene: III. Recitativo: Scocca da le pupille	0:40 	
8 Cantata bella quanto crudel spietata Irene: IV. Aria: Mia bella se brami	3:59 	
9 Sonata nona: I. Allegro	1:46 	
10 Sonata nona: II. Largo	1:35 	
11 Sonata nona: III. Fuga	2:29 	
12 Sonata nona: IV. Piano	1:42 	
13 Sonata nona: V. Allegro	2:04 	
14 Cantata pastorale (Non so qual più m'ingombra): I. Recitativo: Non so qual più m'ingombra	2:42 
15 Cantata pastorale (Non so qual più m'ingombra): II. Aria: Che sarà?	5:05 	
16 Cantata pastorale (Non so qual più m'ingombra): III. Recitativo: É nato, alfin mi dice	1:08 	
17 Cantata pastorale (Non so qual più m'ingombra): IV. Aria Pastorale: Nacque, e il Gran Messia6:11 
18 Motetto infirmata, vulnerata: I. Aria: Infirmata, vulnerata	5:30 	
19 Motetto infirmata, vulnerata: II. Recitativo: O care, o dulcis amor	0:31 	
20 Motetto infirmata, vulnerata: III. Aria: Vulnera percute, transfige cor	3:06 	
21 Motetto infirmata, vulnerata: IV. Aria: Cur, quaeso, crudelis		2:19 	
22 Motetto infirmata, vulnerata: V. Recitativo: Vicisti, amor	0:33 	
23 Motetto infirmata, vulnerata: VI. Aria: Semper gratus, desiderabilis	1:52 	
24 Sonata vigesima quarta: I. Allegro	0:57 	
25 Sonata vigesima quarta: II. Fuga	2:19 	
26 Sonata vigesima quarta: III. Largo	2:14 	
27 Sonata vigesima quarta: IV. Allegro	1:42

Matthew White - Counter Tenor
Les Voix Baroques (Ensemble)
Mario Labbe - Artistic Director

 

"At the beginning of each air, I have noted the tempo at which it should be played and, in the appropriate places, the pianos and fortes of the instruments, which are the chiaroscuro and make all accompanied song a delight." Alessandro Scarlatti, Letter to Ferdinando de Medici, Rome, May 29, 1706, amazon.com

 

The booklet for this fine disc from Montreal includes a wonderful characterization of Alessandro Scarlatti's music, especially of the cantatas recorded here. "His music's eloquence," wrote French pedagogue Ennemond Trillat, "does not implore; it stems from that spiritual intoxication which is the very essence of the Baroque. And this music sings without phraseology. It is free of all extrinsic intent, and its lyricism produces perfect forms. Its fluid grace is essentially melodic, but without a trace of exuberance." The same virtues apply to the performances here by Canadian countertenor Matthew White. In a Baroque scene filled with athletic, heart-on-sleeve countertenors, he goes in the opposite direction. Although it's not from a lack of power (little flashes of full voice bubble up in his interpretations like intimations of a feeling's depths), he has specialized in music of smaller dimensions: Bach cantatas, Buxtehude, Purcell, and the highly romantic cantatas for voice and ensemble heard here, which are the very essence of sophisticated chamber music. The countertenor is a creature of vocal display, and with a singer who has a really unusual voice, as White does, you pay your money and you take your choice. It's safe to say, though, that everyone with an interest in Baroque vocal style ought to hear him once. His voice has a somewhat woodwind-y quality, highly expressive without being loud, and the recorder chamber music he uses to break up the program here is nicely suited as a foil to his singing. Devoting a disc to Scarlatti cantatas, a body of work containing hundreds of neglected items, was also a good idea. Each cantata has a pair of recitatives and arias that have the flavor of a single utterance. The unusual motetto Infirmata, vulnerata is not a sacred work, but a philosophical meditation on love, apparently distinguished conceptually from the cantatas by its reflective (rather than dramatic) text. This disc may well be strong enough to generate responses from other top countertenors (Andreas Scholl comes to mind) and (hopefully) further work in the same vein from White himself. A strong release, unfussily recorded, that shows continuing development in Montreal's vibrant early music scene. ---James Manheim, Rovi

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