Manna: Laudate pueri; Zelenka: Barbara, dira effera; Laetatus sum*; plus works by Almeidi, Fux, Handel and Nucci
*Fatma Said (soprano), Jakub Józef Orliński (countertenor); Il Pomo’d’Oro/Francesco Corti
Erato 9029674390 80:21 mins
This album is a sequel to the 2018 recording Anima Sacra also on the Erato label. Both contain previously unrecorded music by composers who, in some cases, are so obscure as to be practically confidential. Even so, be prepared for some dazzling displays of the vocal arts from the Polish countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński (who, in his spare time, is a fashion model and breakdancer), and the Egyptian soprano Fatma Said as they take us through arias and duets from early 18th century oratorios and psalm settings.
At the centre of this box of surprises is the Czech composer Jan Zelenka (d1745), who ended up working in Dresden. His aria ‘Barbara, dira effera’ talks of the horrors of the crucifixion, but its music is stylistically virtuosic rather than touching which evokes from Orliński tones of rich fluidity and agility, as do the decorative details of the Alleluja setting from the same work. In Fux’s ‘Non t’amo’ we hear a contrasting skill, one of quiet poise and sustained thoughtfulness, nicely complemented by some typically well balanced playing in the ritornelli from the orchestra of Il Pomo d’Oro. As for the duets, in Zelenka’s psalm setting ‘Laetatus sum’, Orliński is partnered by the assured, pliant and blended singing of Fatma Said. They are particularly fine in the ‘Rogate’ movement. We know next to nothing about the composer Bartolomeo Nucci but his aria ‘Un giusto furore’ with its exhilarating dialogue between solo trumpet and voice is one of the disc’s major attractions.