LABELS: Naïve Astrée
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Canto Mediterraneo
PERFORMER: Guillemette Laurens (mezzo-soprano); Capriccio Stravagante/Skip Sempé
CATALOGUE NO: E 8870
Capriccio Stravagante’s fresh and colourful portrait of Mediterranean music-making from the early Baroque period vividly communicates this repertoire’s boundless capacity to move the emotions. Accept the invitation offered exuberantly by Guillemette Laurens in Scandello’s ‘Vorria che tu cantass’ – the first song on the disc – and you will not be disappointed.
Heartfelt melancholy in Encina’s ‘Ay triste, qui vengo’, soft atmospheric lighting in ‘Ay luna que reluces’, operatic dramatising in the Frescobaldi arias, ardent passion in Caccini’s ‘Amarilli mia bella’, and comely pastoral spaciousness in Vecchi’s ‘Gitene, Ninfe’ transport the listener smoothly from tears to joy. Idiomatic playing by Skip Sempé and Capriccio Stravagante heightens the expressive potential of the vocal numbers beautifully throughout. But Sempé’s harpsichord realisation of the basso continuo in the Frescobaldi pieces highlights the meaning of the words with particular eloquence.
Elsewhere, Sempé and his team discover the technical vigour and poetic range of the instrumental items. The ensemble’s touching warmth
in Malvezzi’s Sinfonia and Marini’s ‘La variata’ highlights the affective power of harmony and melody. Meanwhile, the group’s rhythmic alertness captures the stylish elegance of the ‘Pass’e mezzo antico’ (track 11) and the vitality of ‘En belén están mis’ amores’ and Lambardi’s ‘Cupido solo dice’. Nicholas Rast