Monteverdi: Fire and Ashes: Ogni amante è guerrier; Lagrime d’amante al sepolcro dell’amata; Tirsi e Clori; Rimanti in pace etc

COMPOSERS: Monteverdi
LABELS: Chandos
ALBUM TITLE: Monteverdi
WORKS: Fire and Ashes: Ogni amante è guerrier; Lagrime d’amante al sepolcro dell’amata; Tirsi e Clori; Rimanti in pace etc
PERFORMER: I Fagiolini/Robert Hollingworth
CATALOGUE NO: CHAN 0749
Fire and Ashes is the second volume in the Monteverdi series from Chandos and I Fagiolini. The first, Flaming Heart, was issued early last year (reviewed January 2007) and likewise offered a conspectus of madrigals from the later books. But this present disc has better pieces, and the performances are somewhat more mature.The singers of I Fagiolini are at their best in the quietly pastoral pieces. ‘Rimanti in pace’ is an early masterpiece from Book 3, sung with the tenderest of touches at the melting harmonies, and ‘Lagrime d’amante’ (Book 6) – written in memory of Caterina Martinelli who died of smallpox before she could take the title role in Monteverdi’s ‘Arianna’ – is given the most persuasive performance I have heard of this piece. Other good things include some fine bass singing from Giles Underwood in the second section of ‘Ogni amante’ (Book 8), and the alert duetting in ‘E così, a poco’ (Book 5). In ‘Che dar più’ (Book 5) the sopranos have a tendency to sing sharp and shrill, and their ‘Chiome d’oro’ (Book 7) obviously mimics the famous interpretation by Evelyn Tubb and Emma Kirkby without quite matching it. The instrumentalists are always good, and the sound is clear and stable. Anthony Pryer

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