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Il Pianto di Maria - The Virgin's Lament
Rare recordings of two settings of Mary’s passionate Easter lament. For their second L’Oiseau Lyre disc, Il Giardino Armonico, again under their director Giovanni Antonini, are joined by celebrated mezzo-soprano Bernarda Fink, for a project exploring the Passion of Christ as seen through the eyes of the Virgin Mary. The two central works are both vocal settings of the Virgin’s lament. The first, Il Pianto di Maria, was long thought to be by Handel – a clear reflection of its outstanding musical quality. It was not until the 1990s that handwriting experts established it as the work of the little-known Venetian composer Giovanni Ferrandini. The other key vocal work will be the World Premiere recording of an aria by Francesco Conti – composer to the Habsburg court of Vienna - in which the martyr Lorenzo, threatened with being burnt alive, refuses to deny his Christian faith. This deeply touching aria features a rarely heard ancestor of the modern clarinet, frequently used in ‘pathetic’ arias of the period – the soprano chalumeau. Short instrumental pieces form a musical setting around these vocal jewels, and include music by Caldara, Marini, Pisendel, Weiss and Vivaldi.
“The playing of Il Giardino Armonico under Giovanni Antonini is very fine, and the mezzo-soprano soloist Bernarda Fink is tremendously expressive.” The Telegraph, 21st April 2009 ***
“Fink sings… 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. A satisfying issue, imaginatively devised and excellently performed.” BBC Music Magazine, July 2009 *****
“…Monteverdi's Pianto della Madonna… an adaptation to sacred works - of the Lament from Arianna, composed in 1608. It works well, and Bernarda Fink sings it with an affecting mixture of restraint and passion. The instrumental pieces are done well, and this well planned disc is very desirable.” Gramophone Magazine, September 2009
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Pisendel - Violin Sonatas
Anton Steck (baroque violin) & Christian Rieger (harpsichord)
“technically flawless” Classics Today
“…Steck and Christian Rieger bring expressive fantasy and galant charm to the music with a unanimous partnership of evenly matched and eloquently punctuated dialogue.” BBC Music Magazine, September 2004 *****
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