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Italia 1600 Argentina 1900
Verónica Cangemi was born in Mendoza, Argentina and was a cellist in the Mendoza Symphonic Orchestra before winning both the National Singing Competition in Argentina and the Francisco Viñas Competition in Barcelona. Her first European performance was in Gluck’s Armide with Les Musiciens du Louvre. She has concentrated largely on Mozart and the Baroque repertoire, working with such directors and ensembles as Giovanni Antonini, Ivor Bolton, William Christie, Adam Fischer, Nikolaus Harnoncourt, René Jacobs, Ton Koopman, Sir Neville Marriner and Zubin Mehta.
The Baroque pieces on the album contain highly virtuosic music by composers like Nicola Porpora that would have been performed by the great castrato Farinelli, as well as arias by Vivaldi and Handel renowned for their challenging vocal lines. The Latin flavour of the disc is complemented by the inclusion of 20th century pieces by Piazzolla, Guastavino and Villa-Lobos all of whom hail from Cangemi’s native South America.
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Handel - Italian Cantatas Volume 3
Cantatas for Cardinal Ottoboni
Raffaella Milanesi (soprano) & Salvo Vitale (bass)
La Risonanza, Fabio Bonizzoni (harpsichord/director)
In the third instalment in Fabio Bonizzoni's survey of the secular cantatas with instrumental accompaniment, composed by Handel during his stay in Italy, come a quartet of works associated with the Venice-born maecenas Pietro Ottoboni, including the substantial Ero e Leandro, the libretto for which is plausibly considered to have been written by the Cardinal Ottoboni himself. As well as the seldom-performed cantata for bass, Spande ancora a mio dispetto and Ah! Crudel, nel pianto mio scored for soprano solo, Bonizzoni also directs the Spanishtexted No se emendará jamás.
“This disc is further testament to the marvellous subtlety and richness of Handel's Roman music and contains Handel-singing, playing and direction of the absolute highest order.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2008
“It was once believed that the Venetian-born Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni was Handel's principal patron during the composer's exciting youthful years in Rome. Scholars now shy away from that verdict but he was a famous patron of the most respected Italian composers and his orchestra was led by Corelli. The cold truth is that not one of these four cantatas – which all date from about summer 1707 – has a verifiable connection with Ottoboni. There is flimsy evidence that the dramatic masterpiece Qual ti riveggio was written for him, and it is not difficult to imagine the astonishing solo violin passages were created specifically for Corelli to play. La Risonanza's Nick Robinson does a marvellous job with them; his playing is sweet, astute and sensitively contoured.
Raffaella Milanesi's singing is as emotionally raw as possible while remaining impeccably stylish and melodically suave as she describes the anguished Hero's discovery of her drowned lover Leander's body. Fabio Bonizzoni ensures that the performances crackle with dramatic tension or plumb the depths of desolate melodic melancholy according to what Handel's music demands, but the most impressive aspect of these performances is the conductor's awareness of story-telling and judicious moulding of the musical flow. The short cantata No se emenderá jamás – Handel's only composition with Spanish words – has been recorded before but never with the rapturous effect achieved here. The bass cantata Spande ancor a mio dispetto also receives a benchmark performance. The concluding work, Ah!crudel nel pianto mio, presents conflicting emotions between elation and misery in love: the long introductory sonata is joyously played, with each musical gesture superbly executed, and Milanesi's singing is by turns chilling, sensitive, spirited or tender. This disc is further testament to the marvellous subtlety and richness of Handel's Roman music and contains Handel-singing, playing and direction of the absolute highest order.” Gramophone Classical Music Guide, 2010
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