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Italian Lute Song

5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 1, 1996
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Pièces de Monteverdi, Frescobaldi, Caccini, etc. / J. Baird, soprano - R. McFarlane

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If you don't know whether you'll enjoy Italian songs of the Renaissance era, this disc will convince you one way or the other--probably positively. Baird's dexterity and expressiveness bring the antique material to life, and her light voice is perfect for the music. McFarlane collaborates with vigor and personality, instead of accompanying from a respectful distance, and he even varies the program with some beautiful lute solos. Printed texts with literate translations also help bring the music closer to us, and the recording quality is superb. The only problem with the disc is that it's difficult to read the names of the composers and titles, which are printed in small type on a picture background. But if that's the worst problem, who cares? --Leslie Gerber
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Product Details

  • Performer: Julianne Baird, Ronn McFarlane
  • Composer: Pietro Paulo Borrono, Marchetto Cara, Giulio Caccini, Girolamo Frescobaldi, Josquin Desprez, et al.
  • Audio CD (July 1, 1996)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Alliance
  • ASIN: B000001QBD
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #634,519 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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By A Customer on January 9, 1999
Format: Audio CD
Julianne Baird, along with Emma Kirkby, is virtually unique in having achieved super-stardom as an exclusively Early Music Soprano. She is symbolic of the sea-change in this field which was once the refuge of artists who couldn't make it in the mainstream of the Romantic repertoire. In the early days of the "authentic performance" movement one could emit just about any ear-splitting squawk or squeal and maintain that it was "historically correct." Since no one can prove definitively how music sounded 'way back then, there being no recordings, many in the early revival movement got away with murder. Hideous voices were justified by pointing to Renaissance paintings of singing angels with their neck muscles tightly constricted.
Happily, singers like Ms. Baird, who have gorgeous voices, have convinced the public that putting in the required hockets and trills is more than authentic enough at this remove to present early music in a way that satisfies both the scholar and the general listener. Baird's astounding technique and beauty of timbre cannot fail to win one over at once, as demonstrated in the very first track of this album, Monteverdi's Laudate Dominum.
Her partner here, Ronn McFarlane, accompanying her on the lute and having a few solo turns, is likewise a considerable artist with numerous recordings to his credit, many with The Baltimore Consort of which he is a member. He also taught lute for 11 years at the Peabody Conservatory. The two work together in perfect harmony and are vividly recorded.
Although all of the 33 selections feature Italian music for lute, or voice and lute, there is an amazing variety of materials covering some 150 years, from the late Renaissance through the early Baroque.
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Format: Audio CD
'The Italian Lute Song' featuring Soprano Julianne Baird and Lutist Ronn McFarlane is a superior recording if you are especially fond of the origins of the Italian song, for it is much more about the vocals than it is about the Lute.

The fact that the recording includes pieces by relatively familiar names such as Monteverdi and des Prez makes it more interesting, in that you can readily compare these works with their other performed and recorded works.

I would not go out of my way to acquire a copy of this recording, but if I ran across it for a good price, I would snap it up and enjoy every minute of it.
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