Monteverdi, Rognoni, Bonelli, Uccellini, Cavalli, Slavatore

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4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: Bonelli,Cavalli,Monteverdi,Rognoni,Slavatore,Uccellini
LABELS: Alba
ALBUM TITLE: Monteverdi and his contemporaries
WORKS: Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda; Lamento d’Arianna
PERFORMER: Monica Groop, Ian Honeyman, Petteri Salomaa, Helsinki Baroque OrchestraAapo Hakkinen
CATALOGUE NO: ABCD 198
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Monteverdi and his contemporaries

makes attractive listening, though the

performances are somewhat uneven

in standard. Petteri Salomaa is an

imposing narrator in Monteverdi’s Il

combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda,

his voice resonant enough to convey

the more bellicose words of Tasso’s

crusade poem, yet sufficiently pliant

to cope with the music’s intricate,

‘agitated style’. Salomaa’s delivery of

the narrative is highly persuasive, too,

if lacking that last ounce of intensity

at the tragic denouement. This is a

fine interpretation with some stylish

instrumental playing, but it is hard to

rival the intensely powerful account

directed by Rinaldo Alessandrini with

Roberto Abondanzza as the narrator.

Mezzo-soprano Monica Groop

takes centre stage in the operatic

fragment Lamento d’Arianna, her

lustrous, velvety voice sure to appeal to

those who like a dramatic approach to

Baroque music. Tenor Ian Honeyman

sings Monteverdi’s ravishing setting

of Nigra sum with apt sensuousness.

Elsewhere, though, he can sound

strained when technically challenged.

The vocal numbers are interwoven

with less well-known chamber works

which members of Helsinki Baroque

realise with considerable prowess and

musicianship. The recorded balance

is well judged – detailed, yet with the

natural bloom of a church acoustic.

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Kate Bolton