LABELS: Deutsche Grammophon
ALBUM TITLE: Nouveau Monde: Baroque Arias and Songs
WORKS: Baroque Arias and Songs
PERFORMER: Patricia Petibon (soprano); La Cetra Barockorchester Basel/Andrea Marcon
CATALOGUE NO: 4790079
Patricia Petibon, the flame-haired French coloratura soprano, dashes from continent to continent in this scattergun recital with Andrea Marcon and his versatile period-instrument ensemble, La Cetra. Conquest is one theme, confession another; the whole a breakneck A-Z of Baroque song from airs de cours to zarzuela. Rarities include a Spanish cantata written by Handel in 1707 (No se enmendará jamás), a rustic reworking of the French folk song ‘J’ai vu le loup’ with bagpipes, drums and pungent historical pronunciation, and a caffeinated reading of ‘El bajel que no recela’ (from José de Nebra’s Vendado es amor), laced with trilling natural horns and more octave leaps than Die Walküre. Successive tours of duty in the title role of Berg’s Lulu have put considerable strain on a naturally flexible, light instrument, most audibly in the thready chest-register Petitbon uses in her excessively slow performance of ‘Dido’s Lament’ and the ambitious sequence from Charpentier’s Medée. Rameau suits her better (there are two sequences from Les Indes galantes). Stronger still are the earlier fusion miniatures, such as Henry Le Bailly’s Yo soy la locura (published in 1614).