Carissimi, Monteverdi, Cavalli, Legrenzi, Handel, Vivaldi etc

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Carissimi,Cavalli,Handel,Legrenzi,Monteverdi,Vivaldi etc
ALBUM TITLE: Arie, Madrigali & Cantate
WORKS: Vocal works
PERFORMER: Sara Mingardo
Sara Mingardo is a genuine contralto


– a rare voice these days when

even mezzos aspire to soprano

status. It’s expressive, of wide range

and dynamic variety, and her

engagement with notes and texts

pays definite dividends across this

inventive selection from the Italian

Baroque repertoire (including

Handel from his Italian period).

She starts impressively with

Tarquinio Merula’s weirdly

obsessive lullaby of Mary written over the tiniest and most troubling

of ground basses, bringing to it

an imaginative pathos. And she

succeeds brilliantly in two items

from Monteverdi’s Seventh Book

of Madrigals – the first an erotic

duet (in which Monica Bacelli

joins her), the second a passionate

love letter. She enters with keen

dramatic definition into the spirit

of Giovanni Salvatore’s cantata of

mourning ‘Allor che Tirsi udia’,

aided by the vivid spontaneity of

the accompaniments, resourcefully

recreated by Rinaldo Alessandrini.

Given the relative obscurity of

several of the items, a booklet note

solely devoted to the development

and aesthetic significance of the

contralto voice is less useful than one

based on the works would have been.

But the programme is worthwhile,

the sound quality rich and spacious,


and the performances impeccable. George Hall