Monteverdi: Le passioni dell’anima: sinfonias and vocal works

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COMPOSERS: Monteverdi
LABELS: Opus 111
WORKS: Le passioni dell’anima: sinfonias and vocal works
PERFORMER: Elisa Franzetti, Elisabetta Tiso (soprano), Rosa Dominguez (mezzo-soprano), Alessandro Carmignani (alto), Paolo Fanciullacci, Gianluca Ferrarini (tenor), Sergio Foresti (bass); Concerto Italiano/Rinaldo Alessandrini
Rinaldo Alessandrini and his ensemble Concerto Italiano have been achieving many successes with their ongoing series of Monteverdi recordings. This one, entitled ‘Le passioni dell’anima’, is an anthology which encompasses romance, allegory, metaphor and a profusion of subtle resonances concerned with affairs of the heart. Unlike several previous releases featuring specific madrigal collections, Alessandrini here draws upon a variety of sources and musical forms of which the madrigal, mainly from Monteverdi’s Seventh Book (1619), is but one. In addition, there are pieces from the earlier ‘Scherzi musicali’, an effective arrangement for soprano and strings of Ariadne’s Lament for Theseus and items from his three surviving operas, Orfeo, Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria and L’incoronazione di Poppea. Rinuccini’s beautiful ‘Lament’ inspired Monteverdi to respond with music of emotional intensity, rich in harmonic progression, sometimes quite unforeseen, and eloquent in its declamation. It is, perhaps, Alessandrini’s insight to the relationship between the music and the poetry that gives this piece and the others on the disc a distinctive and affecting puissance. Instruments and voices of the Ensemble blend evenly and transparently to achieve a quite outstanding result in the balletto ‘I bei legami’, for three singers, two violins and continuo (from the ‘Scherzi musicali’) and the madrigal ‘Non m’è grave il morire’ from Monteverdi’s Second Book (1590). Nicholas Anderson