The Virgin’s Lament

Our rating 
5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: Conti & Pisendel,Ferrandini,Marini,Monteverdi,Vivaldi
LABELS: L’Oiseau-Lyre
WORKS: Works by Vivaldi, Ferrandini, Marini, Monteverdi, Conti & Pisendel
PERFORMER: Bernarda Fink (mezzo-soprano); Il Giardino Armonico/Giovanni Antonini
CATALOGUE NO: 478 1466

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This attractively varied, themed programme takes its name from a cantata once thought to have been written by Handel. It is, though, almost certainly by Giovanni Battista Ferrandini (c1710-91), a younger Italian contemporary of Handel, and its music, at least to my ears, seldom if ever brings Handel to mind, being in a later, pronounced Neapolitan idiom.

Bernarda Fink gives a poignant account of this cantata as you will hear in the second of two Cavatinas and in the two da capo arias. The two remaining vocal items are Monteverdi’s celebrated Lamento d’Arianna in its later sacred Latin setting, ‘Pianto della Madonna’, and an aria with chalumeau (a prototype clarinet) accompaniment from an oratorio by Handel’s contemporary Francesco Bartolomeo Conti (1681-1732). Fink sings these all with fervour and unassuming charm, supported by the sensitive playing of Il Giardino Armonico.

This talented ensemble comes into its own in the five short instrumental pieces on the disc. In addition to Vivaldi’s two well-known works – the Sonata Al Santo Sepolcro and his Concerto Madrigalesco – there are a pleasing Passacaglio by Biagio Marini (1594-1663) and a Sonata for two oboes and strings by Vivaldi’s Dresden friend and pupil Johann Georg Pisendel (1687-1755), a renowned violin virtuoso.

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His Sonata may have taken Vivaldi’s Santo Sepolcro music as a formal model. A satisfying issue, imaginatively devised and excellently performed. Nicholas Anderson