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Rappresentazione della gloriosa Passione di Cristo
Mediterranean passion – of a religious nature -- inspires L’Arpeggiata’s new collection, an encounter between works by the 17th century Italian composers Sances and Merula and traditional music from Italy and Corsica.
L’Arpeggiata, the French-based ensemble directed by Austrian-born harpist and lutenist Christina Pluhar, releases its second Virgin Classics album, following Teatro d’amore, a programme of Monteverdi which blended instruments and voices, score and improvisation in a kind of sublime Baroque jam session. Figaro magazine observed that “L’Arpeggiata invests Monteverdi with a dazzling array of vocal and instrumental colours. A touch of improvisation raises the singing to an incandescent level … A unique distillation of explosive vitality,” while the leading German news magazine Spiegel exclaimed: “Roll over, Monteverdi“; it is a long time since classical music has held so many surprises or taken such a broad view.“
L’Arpeggiata has made a speciality of exploring and exploiting the close links between Baroque repertoire and the traditional music of the Latin world and its characteristic forms such as the tarantella, the folia or the canario. In this new collection, Via Crucis, ‘the way of the Cross’, the focus is on the pervasive presence of religious feeling in Southern Europe. The Passion of Christ evokes the same fervour in composers such as Giovanni Felice Sances (1600-1679) or Tarquinio Merula (1594-1665) – both active in northern Italy -- as it does in the streets of Naples or the villages of Corsica. The two main works in the collection are Sance’s extraordinary Stabat Mater and Merula’s Hor ch’e tempo di dormire, in which the Virgin Mary lulls her baby to sleep while weeping for his future suffering and both enthrall the listener with a basso ostinato and hypnotic swaying rhythms.
Reviewing Teatro d’amore, L’Education musicale wrote that: “Ingeniously chosen vocal works are interspersed with important instrumental pieces, taking us on a supreme journey through Monteverdi. The communicative energy and the intense sculptural beauty of pieces like the final duet from L’incoronazione di Poppea or rich sequences of madrigals are transformed by an ensemble that is palpably composed of soloists. Most astonishing of all – and this is a significant discovery – is the modernity that lurks in this music … A Venetian piece from 1664 makes one wonder whether it’s a matter of Monteverdian style or jazz rhythms. … The addition of two exceptional voices adds further appeal to this fusion of genres : Philippe Jaroussky, whose angelic timbre fills the lines blissfully and Nuria Rial, who brings a velvety tenderness. When they come together the mood reaches sensual heights. This is far more than a compilation … it is music in its truest manifestation.”
Rial and Jaroussky feature again on Via Crucis and they are joined by the male vocal quartet Barbara Furtuna (Corsican Choir), whose earthy, but highly-disciplined sonorities evoke centuries of Mediterranean culture.
“Concept discs uniting early music with folk music can be suspect, but this one is very classy...Pluhar's arrangements are stylishly varied.” The Observer, 28th Mar ch 2010
“the sound they make is gorgeous, lush in texture, with splendid performances from soprano Nuria Rial and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky...Like the vocalists, the instrumentalists of L'Arpeggiata perform with an affective sincerity that is undiminished by clarity of articulation.” BBC Music Magazine, May 2010 ****
“...a fascinating programme of motets and meditations on the Passion...Pluhar is a more-is-more director, decorating the simplest folk melodies with cornetto divisions and glistening chords” The Independent, 2nd May 2010
“[L'Arpeggiata's] fertile improvisations above these old bass patterns have never sounded more colourful...While the players get busy below, Rial and countertenor Philippe Jaroussky play it straight on top, staying focused and simple-toned.” International Record Review, July/August 2010
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The Galileo Project
Bach, J S:
Cantata BWV1 'Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern': Sinfonia
Cantata BWV29 'Wir danken dir, Gott, wir danken dir': Overture
Concerto Grosso Op. 3 No. 6 in D major, HWV317: Allegro
Phaëton: Air pour les suivants de Saturne
Passacaglia à 4, Op. 22
Moresca (from Orfeo)
Rondeau from Abdelazer
Hippolyte et Aricie: Entrée de Jupiter
Les Surprises de l'Amour: Entree de Venus
Platée: Entree de Mercure
Concerto in D major, TWV 40:202 for 4 Violins without Basso Continuo: Allegro
Concerto, Op. 3 No. 5 'Con due Violini obligati', RV 519
Lute Concerto in C major: Allegro
Sonata in F, ZWV181 No. 1: Adagio ma non troppo
DVD + CD
Director: Marshall Pynkoski
“The fascination of this for general viewers is in a resonant linking of the preoccupations and of 17th- and 18th-century music and culture with the radical scientific discoveries of the time, while for lovers of Baroque music there is a simpler joy in hearing familiar music in new contexts...Further pleasure comes from the playing of Tafelmusik, an uplifting mixture as ever of ensemble excellence and open generosity of spirit.” Gramophone Magazine, June 2012
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