Ferrari, Fresobaldi, Caccini, Monteverdi, Dowland, Purcell

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COMPOSERS: Caccini,Dowland,Ferrari,Fresobaldi,Monteverdi,Purcell
LABELS: DG Archiv
ALBUM TITLE: Music for a while: Baroque melodies
WORKS: Weep you no more; In darkness let me dwell
PERFORMER: Anne Sofie von Otter, Jory Vinikour, Jakob Lindberg, Anders Ericson
CATALOGUE NO: 477 5114
Anne Sofie von Otter has structured

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this recital in three contrasting

sections: songs by early Baroque

composers including Caccini, Ferrari

and Monteverdi, a group from Purcell

two generations later and, remaining

in England, back to Dowland at the

end. Each section is framed by an

instrumental piece from one of the

continuo players. Von Otter clearly

analyses texts in detail, considering

the impact of each word, each note,

but restoring them to beautifully

sustained musical lines. Impeccable

diction and intentional mistunings

intensify the wit of Ferrari’s ‘Amanti,

io vi so dire’; Dowland’s lament ‘In

darkness let me dwell’ is wonderfully

subtle. Her breath seems inexhaustible

as his ‘Weep you no more’ ends

‘softly… sleeping’. She is exceptionally

versatile: it’s hard to believe that the

same voice sings a gentle lullaby from

Monteverdi’s Poppea and immediately

after engages in a tirade against love

betrayed, Strozzi’s ‘Udite, amanti’.

The decision to dispense with a

bowed string bass instrument results

in a delightfully transparent texture.

Continuo forces range from a single

lute to all three players together, with

Purcell’s more knotty harmonies

supported by harpsichord. Jakob

Lindberg’s playing is outstanding for

its legato, a quality particularly hard

to achieve on a plucked instrument.

He and Jory Vinikour also contribute

the five instrumental interludes. The

recorded sound creates an effective

three-dimensional image, immediate

but free of extraneous fingering noise

from the plucked strings. While

most of this recital is not new to the

catalogue, such heartfelt performance

communicated through seamless

technique lifts this disc far above the

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ordinary. George Pratt