LABELS: Carpe Diem
WORKS: La Virtú; Vaghe faville; Da l’onde del mio pianto; Intenerite vol
PERFORMER: Gundula Anders (soprano), Sigrun Richter (archlute, chitarrone), Hille Perl (viola da gamba, lirone)
CATALOGUE NO: 16259 (distr. www.carpediemrecords.com)
Suddenly, the world is alive to the sound of d’India: last month I revelled in a selection from his five books of solo songs (Harmonia Mundi). Now Gundula Anders offers strikingly different interpretations of four of these, together with a dozen new ones. The differences vividly illustrate the skeletal nature of printed scores in this novel medium which exploded on to the musical scene in early 17th-century Italy – simply a vocal line, though often dripping with florid decoration, above a plain, slow-moving bass, with improvised chords between.
Where poetry is mistress of the musical line, in a ‘Prologue’ and a ‘Lament’, Anders’s rhythm is very free, virtually unmetrical, and her fast decorative outbursts more fluttered than articulated: perhaps the recording perspective masks clarity. In contrast, she throws off three light-hearted canzonetti with appealing charm: her unfussy, natural voice suits these tuneful strophic songs well. Between these extremes are through-composed madrigals – passionate pleas and the agonised chromaticism of unrequited lovers – and a litany of bird-song from the nightingale who, too, is driven only by love.
Four instrumental interludes, music by Kapsberger and Piccinini, reveal the subtle variations of colour from archlute, two different-sized chitarroni and a lively guitar.
A charming disc of astonishing music. George Pratt