COMPOSERS: Alessandro Scarlatti
WORKS: Cantatas, Vol. 2
PERFORMER: David Daniels (countertenor); Arcadian Academy/Nicholas McGegan
CATALOGUE NO: 75605 51319 2
Last year the Arcadian Academy drew attention to Alessandro Scarlatti’s prolific and highly accomplished vocal composition with their first volume of cantatas. Scarlatti wrote more than 600 works in this genre, showing remarkable structural and expressive flexibility. The latest disc in the series confirms his fluent dramatic powers in a programme centred around the theme of Love.
Countertenor David Daniels’s vocal eloquence and Nicholas McGegan’s stylish direction of the Academy’s instrumentalists combine to produce performances that are wholly involving. Scarlatti’s sensitive word-setting presents ample opportunities to savour both the singer’s emotional states and more obvious pictorial features and actions. We feel sympathy for the rejected lover’s bitterness in Ombre tacite e sole and share in the nightingale’s vividly depicted natural environment in Il rosignolo as he restlessly flies from tree to tree, ultimately finding solace in the murmuring fountain waters.
The frantic athleticism of Il genio di Mitilde (illustrating a young woman’s flirtatiousness) and Perchè tacete are nicely balanced by O pace del mio cor’s obsessive quest for peace. Finally, Infirmata vulnerata – whose Latin text and more straightforward harmonic patterns portray Love’s constancy – provides an optimistic footnote to this delightful survey of amatory sentiments. Nicholas Rast