Colori D’Amore

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: AM Bononcini,Broschi,Caldara,GB Bononcini,Mattheis & A Scarlatti
LABELS: Sony
WORKS: Baroque Arias by AM Bononcini, GB Bononcini, Broschi, Caldara, Mattheis & A Scarlatti
PERFORMER: Simone Kermes (soprano); Le Musiche Nove/Claudio Osele
CATALOGUE NO: 88697789202

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As a follow-up to Lava, last year’s acclaimed CD of arias from 18th-century Naples, Simone Kermes and her collaborators Claudio Osele and Le Musiche Nove switch their focus to a rather more heterogeneous but no less worthwhile group of neglected Italian operatic composers from a roughly contemporary period.

Alessandro Scarlatti is the principal figure in their spotlight. Five little-known works are excerpted to exemplify his quirky vividness and (where appropriate) brilliance of orchestral colour and succulent delicacy of melodic line. From the 1709 serenata La gloria di primavera the aria ‘Canta dolce il rosignolo’, Spring’s hymn to the beauty of the nightingale’s song, is the disc’s highlight, and Kermes’s account of it beguiles every sense. 

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But these re-examinations of the Bononcini brothers – better-known Giovanni (Handel’s London rival), lesser-known Antonio Maria – and of Caldara, Venetian favourite of Empress Maria Theresa, are every bit as attractive. If (to my ears at least) the disc makes overall a less dazzling impression than its predecessor, that may be because Kermes tends to let mannerism creep into her line-shaping and verbal delivery rather more frequently than before. That said, she remains a remarkable artist, charming, fascinating and boldly risk-taking by turns; and Le Musiche Nove is excellent. Max Loppert