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Kathleen Battle & Wynton Marsalis: Baroque Duet

4.5 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Audio CD, April 21, 1992
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Product Details

  • Performer: Kathleen Battle, Wynton Marsalis, Anthony Newman
  • Orchestra: Orchestra of St. Luke's
  • Conductor: John Nelson
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel, Alessandro Scarlatti, Luca Antonio Predieri, Alessandro Stradella, Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Audio CD (April 21, 1992)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Sony
  • ASIN: B0000027C1
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,610 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
I had been a huge fan of both Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis for many years, when I had the good fortune to see a PBS tv documentary on the making of this album. I was playing this album literally 3-4 times daily, so it was a delight to see the artistry and passion they brought to the recording. Not only do you see the artists working with great joy and humor in the studio, you also get to see Kathleen Battle give a recital concert in her hometown church in Ohio, singing the roof off! Talk about a homecoming....
The album opens with a technically stunning rendition of Handel's LET THE BRIGHT SERAPHIM, which displays Battle's great coloratura. Wynton Marsalis is a gorgeous match for her silvery top notes and crystal-clear diction. She is unmatched in her ability to bring out every glorious syllable. The most beatiful piece on the entire album, and it's not easy to choose just one, has to be ETERNAL SOURCE OF LIGHT. You will literally think you're surrounded by celestial light, her singing is that gorgeous. Again, Marsalis' trumpet is perfectly matched to her voice.
They really outdo themselves in the Scarlatti material; especially in the 7 arie con tromba sola (my favorites being SI SUONI LA TROMBA and MIO TESORO PER TE MORO) and SU LE SPONDE DEL TEBRO, which features gorgeous harpsichord....Stupenda.
It would be truly amazing if Battle and Marsalis would collaborate again. This is one of the most beautiful duet albums in any genre you'll ever hear. Bravo!!!!
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Format: Audio CD
It is difficult to express in words the experience of hearing Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis perform this brilliant and difficult pieces on this recording. Every single number on this recital of Baroque pieces for voice and trumpet is a wonder of energy and technical precision. Kathleen Battle's silvery voice is particularly fond of the Baroque repertoire. The extremely difficult arias and cantatas of this CD suit Battle's voice perfectly. The soprano shines with nimble coloratura, soaring high notes (up to brilliant C's and D's)and precise control of dynamics. Marsalis is a perfect partner for Battle, a true virtuoso capable of establishing an effective rapport with the vocal line. The ornamentation used by both artists is both tasteful and brilliant, always mindful that this music calls for both display and ensemble work. John Nelson, an accomplished Baroque conductor, conducts with his usual mastery the Orchestra of St. Luke's, an ensemble who brings excellent support to the work of the soloists. Among the highlights of the recording are Let the Bright Seraphim, with the brilliant trills of both Battle and Marsalis, the fours arias from Scarlatti's Arie con Tromba Sola, and above all, the two movements from Bach's Cantata No. 51 that close the program. These are perhaps the best interpretations of this cantata movements I have ever heard. An unique recording that proves what the term "virtuoso" really means. Highly recommended.
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Format: Audio CD
Jazz buffs are very familiar with Wynton Marsalis and his trumpet. Opera lovers know the quality voice of lyrical soprano Kathleen Battle. A perfect blending of these two performers, in the Baroque music, has been acheived in this CD. The match of human voice and trumpet seems to us, at the end of the Twenth Century, a mismatch. But to quote Ellen T. Harris, who wrote the liner notes, "The real and sympolic power of the trumpet makes its combination with the quieter instruments and voice seems, at first, imbrobable, but a softer sweeter style of playing in the high ("clarino") register was typical in art music for the trumpet...". Sounds simple enough, but Wynton is one of the few players who can do it well. So well in fact, that at several points Kathleen's voice and Wynton's trumpet blend into one voice, a balanced singularity, even duplicating each others vibrato exactly. A truely amazing accomplishment, which can only be fully appreciated by listening; but once you hear this glorious sound, you'll want to upgrade your stero system to capture its fullness.
Everyone I have had listen to this CD, and I've given away several as gifts, has come from the experience, with a changed paradigm, toward that "old" Baroque music. This recording presents the eras music in its true light - rich, with debth and color; and in my opinion, is more powerful than the passionate Romantics.
I asked myself, "how can such a feeling of freedom be realized in an archaic, regimented, nay strait-jacket format?" The answer is in the musicans and how they make the music live.
A word about those liner notes, which we seem to never appreciate anough, in this case they are very good.
Read more ›
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By A Customer on December 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
A lot has been said about the way both Kathleen Battle and Wynton Marsalis sometimes embelish their baroque performances, but this recording is an exeption: all feeling and no flashiness - both performers display a dazzling enthusiasm coupled with immense talent. The opening track, Handel's Let the Bright Seraphim, is a brilliantly refreshing version of a very famous and often recorded piece that sets the tone for the whole CD. Other highlights include Handel's Eternal Source of Light Divine and Bach's Seufzer Tranen Kummer Not. Kathleen's voice is delicate and expressive and perfectly suited for this type of music, her technique may not be perfect, but her ability to convey feeling makes up for this minor drawback. Wynton in the ultimate trumpet virtuoso, both innovative and technically flawless, and you feel he could turn any piece of music into something worth listening. The repertoire is fabulous and you can hardly imagine two more complete performers for these masterpieces.
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