Magazine article Gramophone

Bertali: La Maddalena

Magazine article Gramophone

Bertali: La Maddalena

Article excerpt

Bertali

La Maddalena Scherzi Musicali / Nicholas Achten Ricercar (F) RIC367 (67' * DDD * T/t)

Apart from the wellknown Ciaconna and the Lamento della Regina d'Inghilterra recorded by Anne Sofie Von Otter some years ago (Archiv, 3/99), the music of Antonio Bertali is virtually unknown. His oratorio La Maddalena is structured in three parts, with its opening section cast as an allegorical dialogue between Pentimento and Amor verso Dio (sung by bass and tenor, the former here richly resonant), underpinned by a consort of six viols and continuo. If the tone here is overwhelmingly dark, the second part, which introduces the two women closest to Jesus, the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene, introduces a more optimistic flavour with occasional episodes of major tonality and triple dance rhythms. Luciana Mancini's Maria is pleasantly bright in the upper register, firm and rounded in the middle range, and there is some discreetly applied ornamentation; the two voices are nicely matched and blend well.

It is only with the third and final part that the full cast of six characters appears, fuller textures in places contrasting with the largely arioso style of so much of the writing. …

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