Recently in Recordings
The Feast at Solhaug : Henrik Ibsen's play Gildet paa Solhaug (1856) inspired Wilhelm Stenhammer's opera Gillet på Solhaug. The world premiere recording is now available via Sterling CD, in a 3 disc set which includes full libretto and background history.
Honours yet again to Oehms Classics who understand the importance of excellence. A composer as good, and as individual, as Walter Braunfels deserves nothing less.
‘Can great music be inspired by the throw of the dice?’ asks Peter Phillips, director of The Tallis Scholars, in his liner notes to the ensemble’s new recording of Josquin’s Missa Di dadi (The Dice Mass). The fifteenth-century artist certainly had an abundant supply of devotional imagery. As one scholar has put it, during this age there was neither ‘an object nor an action, however trivial, that [was] not constantly correlated with Christ or salvation’.
Francesco Cavalli’s La Calisto was the composer’s ﬁfteenth opera, and the ninth to a libretto by Giovanni Faustini (1615-1651). First performed at the Teatro Sant’Apollinaire in Venice on 28th November 1651, the opera by might have been sub-titled ‘Gods Behaving Badly’, so debauched are the deities’ dalliances and deviations, so egotistical their deceptions.
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Edouard Lalo (1823-92) is best known today for his instrumental works: the
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Two new recordings from highly acclaimed specialists Opera Rara -
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It is not often that a major work by a forgotten composer gets rediscovered
and makes an enormously favorable impression on today’s listeners. That has
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This recording, made in the Adrian Boult Hall at the Birmingham Conservatoire of Music in June 2014, is the fourth disc in SOMM’s series of recordings with Paul Spicer and the Birmingham Conservatoire Chamber Choir.
Félicien David’s intriguing Le désert, for vocal and orchestral forces plus narrator, was widely performed in its own day, then disappeared from the performing repertory for nearly a century.
This well-packed disc is a delight and a revelation. Until now, even the
most assiduous record collector had access to only a few of the nearly 100
songs published by Félicien David (1810-76), in recordings by such notable
artists as Huguette Tourangeau, Ursula Mayer-Reinach, Udo Reinemann, and Joan
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Corona spinea (produced by Gimell Records) comes two years after The
Tallis Scholars’ critically esteemed recording of the composer’s
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settings of Dum transisset Sabbatum.
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bûcher, an adaptation of the Trial of Joan of Arc
Stephen Paulus provided the musical world, and particularly the choral world, with music both provocative and pleasing through a combination of lyricism and a modern-Romantic tonal palette.
Richard Taruskin entitled his 1988 polemical critique of the notion of ‘authenticity’ in the context of historically informed performance, ‘The Pastness of the Present and the Presence of the Past’.
As the editor of Opera magazine, John Allison, notes in his editorial in the June issue, Donizetti fans are currently spoilt for choice, enjoying a ‘Donizetti revival’ with productions of several of the composer’s lesser known works cropping up in houses around the world.
Philippe Jaroussky lends poetry and poise to the sounds of nineteenth- and
Carolyn Sampson has long avoided the harsh glare of stardom but become a favourite singer for “those in the know” — and if you are not one of those it is about time you were.
This Winterreise is the final instalment of Matthias Goerne’s series of Schubert lieder for Harmonia Mundi and it brings the Matthias Goerne Schubert Edition, begun in 2008, to a dark, harrowing close.
14 Nov 2004
Myto Releases Ernani
VERDI:Ernani with Giovanna d'Arco excerpts Georgio Merighi (Ernani), Piero Cappuccilli (Don Carlo), Augusto Ferrin (De Silva), Mara Zampieri (Elvira) Trieste Teatro Communale/ MolinariPradelli; Mara Zampieri (Giovanna), Renato Francesconi (Carlo), Ettore Nova (Giacomo) San Remo Symphony/ Buenza-Delil Myto 41288 [2CD] 148...
with Giovanna d'Arco excerpts
Georgio Merighi (Ernani), Piero Cappuccilli (Don Carlo), Augusto Ferrin (De Silva), Mara Zampieri (Elvira) Trieste Teatro Communale/ MolinariPradelli; Mara Zampieri (Giovanna), Renato Francesconi (Carlo), Ettore Nova (Giacomo) San Remo Symphony/ Buenza-Delil
Myto 41288 [2CD] 148 minutes
Presumably intended simply as a tribute to the soprano, this "complete" Ernani emerges as an exciting, worthwhile performance in its own right. The bonus-most of Giovanna's role-if not quite up to the same standard, is still enjoyable.
Zampieri's few commercial recordings were generally not well received, and one could only concur with the unfavorable critical opinions they evoked. Her work here reveals a vastly superior singer; the voice is in fine shape from a gleaming top to a telling lower register. Moreover, it has an immediately recognizable timbre and is used intelligently. Her opening recitative, taken softly with an air of inward retrospection, immediately establishes Elvira's character. The following aria, 'Ernani, Involami', goes exceptionally well; and if her trill in the cabaletta is not quite the equal of Ponselle's, it remains an exciting and accurate traversal of this "sewing machine" music.
Her Ernani is a worthy partner. Merighi may not be the subtlest of tenors, but his ringing, virile tones are appropriate and he sounds involved in a role that usually emerges as a mere cipher. Cappuccilli commences in slightly hectoring fashion but improves steadily as the opera proceeds. His 'O de' verd'anni miei' is a high point and the audience responds appropriately. Unfortunately, he is rather off-mike for the concerted 'O Sommo Carlo', which thereby loses some of its effect. As the true villain of the piece, Ferrin sounds uncannily like the great Tancredi Pasero and commences with an even more prominent vibrato, which, fortunately, speedily lessens. Perhaps wisely, the cabaletta to his aria, `Infelice, e tuo Credevi', is omitted.
Molinari-Pradelli conducts a cohesive, fastmoving performance but always appears keenly sympathetic to his soloist's idiosyncrasies. In the Giovanna d'Arco excerpts, Buenza-Delil also keeps things moving, but somewhat frenetically and often at the expense of his singers. Certainly Zampieri's Giovanna does not sound quite as relaxed as her Elvira. But this is one of Verdi's least inspired works, with a title role seemingly more suited to a soprano leggiera. Both tenor and baritone are perfectly adequate.
These excerpts and the opera were recorded in performance, with all the virtues and blemishes this implies. Voices are sometimes distant as singers move away from the recording source, there are many odd thumps, and the audience is sometimes over-enthusiastic with applause. Fortunately, there is no distortion even in concerted passages; and, given the blazing intensity of the performance, it is easy to ignore all these extraneous intrusions. Alas, no libretto and almost no notes; but four rather good photos of the soprano offer some compensation.
Vivian A Liff
THIS REVIEW ORIGINALLY APPEARED IN THE NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2004 ISSUE (VOL. 67 NO. 6) OF AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE (ARG). IT IS REPRINTED HERE WITH THE KIND PERMISSION OF ARG. FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON ARG, GO TO ITS WEBSITE AT www.americanrecordguide.com.