Magazine article Gramophone

'Il Pianto d'Orfeo'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Il Pianto d'Orfeo'

Article excerpt

'Il pianto d'Orfeo' 'The Birth of Opera' Music by Peri, Caccini, Monteverdi, Rossi, Landi and Sartorio Deborah York sop Scherzi Musicali / Nicolas Achten

Deutsche Harmonia Mundi [F] 88843 07872-2

(73' * DDD * T)

Nicolas Achten has thoughtfully woven together extracts from various 17th-century music dramas on the myth ot Urpneus, from the Florentine dawn of Peri and Caccini to the Venetian style of Sartorio 70 years later, via Monteverdi's Mantuan masterpiece (1607) and Rossi's opera for the French court (1648). The seamless narrative is organised into six subsections that follow the plot of the myth, connected together by instrumental pieces such as warmly played sinfonias by Rossi and music by Cavalieri. The sequence devoted to 'The Loves of Orpheus and Eurydice' presents a beguiling contrast of Orfeo and Euridice trading expressions of their profound love for each other: Monteverdi's 'Rosa del del' (sung serenely by Achten) and Rossi's seductive passacaglia 'Mio ben, teco '1 tormento' (sung exquisitely by Deborah York); it leads directly into a lightly sprung account of Monteverdi's 'Vi ricorda, o boschi ombrosi'.

The section entitled 'Weep at my Lament' is dominated by Caccini and Peri's respective settings of Rinuccini's verses 'Funeste piagge', although they are ultimately overshadowed by Achten's pathos-laden rhetorical shaping of Monteverdi's famous 'Possente spirto'. …

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