A Scarlatti: Cantatas, Vol. 3

Our rating 
4.0 out of 5 star rating 4.0

COMPOSERS: A Scarlatti
LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Cantatas, Vol. 3
PERFORMER: Brian Asawa (countertenor); Arcadian Academy/Nicholas McGegan
CATALOGUE NO: 75605 51325 2
Alessandro Scarlatti wrote a huge number of chamber cantatas – about 600, in fact – most of which are, like the five delightful examples on this disc, for solo voice. These ones are sung by countertenor Brian Asawa with stylish support from members of the Arcadian Academy, who provide varying types of accompaniment, sometimes with continuo alone, at other times with a larger instrumental colloquium. Only one of the five cantatas here, Clori vezzosa, e bella, is written for voice and basso continuo throughout, the others calling for two violins and, on occasion, viola. The first work in the programme is the most elaborate of the group with its three-movement instrumental introduction and four each of alternating recitatives and arias. Nicholas McGegan, directing from the harpsichord, has already issued two previous volumes of cantatas by Scarlatti in the series and in the new one he reveals himself once more as a sympathetic and lively interpreter of a somewhat neglected repertoire. The music moves easily and gracefully with lightly articulated bowing and thoughtful phrasing. Asawa has a mellow tone and a voice-range which seldom sounds uncomfortably stretched. Above all, he responds affectionately to the mainly pastoral texts, declaiming them with clarity and firm, but never harsh projection. In this instance the compliment is paid with especial ardour since my pre-publication copy contains neither text nor introduction. Nicholas Anderson