LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: O mors illa; Partite sopra passacagli; Deus noster
PERFORMER: Elisa Franzetti, Mercedes Hernandez, Emmanuelle Halimi (soprano), Stephan van Dyck, Luca Dordolo (tenor), Stephan Imboden (bass); Le Parlement de Musique/Martin Gester
CATALOGUE NO: OP 30296
This splendidly imaginative programme was inspired by a visiting Frenchman’s description of a Lenten performance in 17th-century Rome. It is framed by two ‘historie’ – unstaged oratorio-like commentaries, Damnatorum lamentatio revealing the torments of eternal damnation, Felicitas beatorum the ecstasy of redemption. Their continuous arioso, highly responsive to passing allusions, moods and single words, is beautifully crafted – constantly-changing textures, structured with memorable refrains, sustained by a stable pulse. The vocal colours – high and normal tenors and bass in the first, sopranos in the second – are most appealing.
The Story of Jephte is one of the most searing dramas of the Baroque. The anguished harmonic clashes of Jephte (Luca Dordolo) at the outcome of his rash bargain with God; the poignant lament of his daughter (Elisa Franzetti), echoed by the mountains (mysteriously superimposing descants as they repeat her despairing phrases); the final heartrending ‘coro’ of soloists piling dissonance upon dissonance – all are dramatically very highly charged, though the sheer depth of her woe weighs down Franzetti’s intonation.
Recorded sound is excellent, adding depth to stereo width for the audio-spectrum of the dramatic music. It creates, too, a spacious ambience for motets and an instrumental piece by Frescobaldi, and two remarkably Corellian trio sonatas by Colista. George Pratt