COMPOSERS: Falconiero & Navas,Marazzoli,Vitali
ALBUM TITLE: Collection: Sopra la Rosa
WORKS: Cantatas by Marazzoli, Vitali, Falconiero & Navas
PERFORMER: Arianna Savall (soprano); Ricercar Consort/Philippe Pierlot
CATALOGUE NO: MIR 9931
Taking the rose as its poetic theme, this sequence intertwines little-known Italian and Spanish Baroque vocal works with instrumental variations on popular dance patterns like the chaconne and folía. Some may feel short-changed by the disc’s rather meagre 52 minutes of music, but the elegant packaging, informative notes and – above all – the enchanting musical gems that the Ricercar Consort unearths are more than compensation.
The young soprano Arianna Savall has yet to make her mark in Britain, though anyone who knows the singing of her mother, Montserrat Figueras, will instantly recognise the vocal style, timbre and mannerisms. Savall is unfailingly sweet in lyrical and languorous moments, but in extrovert or declamatory works like ‘O mortal’ or ‘Salutate il nuovo Aprile’, her voice tends to become constricted, the vowel sounds distinctly Hispanic rather than the more open Italian. The overall effect might have been somewhat monochrome were it not for the kaleidoscopic colours and textures provided by the Ricercar Consort and gambist Philippe Pierlot. I would buy the disc just for their performance of the mesmeric, melancholic ‘Ciaccona’ by Marco Marazzoli – one of several beguiling works by this gifted Italian composer which the Consort brings to light. Kate Bolton