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Lettere Amorose


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Audio CD, November 22, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

Magdalena Kozená explores the early Italian Baroque music of Monteverdi and his contemporaries with rewarding results. Inspired by the improvisational nature of much of this music, Kozená reveals yet another aspect of her musical personality. Teamed with the six string-instrumentalists and percussion of the acclaimed consort group Private Musicke, Magdalena Kozená delivers an album in a fascinatingly different setting from any of her previous Baroque recordings. In music ranging from simple lamento to rollicking dance tunes, Magdalena Kozená unleashes her refined vocal and expressive abilities to convey every nuance implicit in the music and the texts. "The Czech mezzo . . . produces one of the loveliest sounds to be heard on the world's stages - a flowing, spring-water-like tone that evokes the term `luminous'." (Opera News) This program will be toured extensively in 2010-2011 with several concerts in some of Europe's most important centers of music:

November 01: Berlin, Germany November 04: Hamburg, Germany November 07: Baden-Baden, Germany November 09: Dortmund, Germany November 11: Brussels, Belgium November 12: Amsterdam, Netherlands November 15: Holesov, Czech Republic February 02: London, Great Britain February 04: London, Great Britain February 07: Paris, France February 09: Cologne, Germany February 11: Budapest, Hungary February 13: Brno, Czech Republic February 14: Vienna, Austria February 16: Warsaw, Poland


Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. O Bei LumiPrivate Musicke 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. India: Cruda AmarilliPrivate Musicke 2:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Si Dolce È Il TormentoPrivate Musicke 3:30$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Caccini: Odi EuterpePrivate Musicke 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Briceno: Caravanda Ciacona (Improvisation)Private Musicke 1:41$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Merula: Canzonetta SpiritualePrivate Musicke 8:42$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Sanz: Canarios (Improvisation)Private Musicke 3:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. Ma Che? Squallido E OscuraPrivate Musicke 2:44$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Con Le Stelle In CielPrivate Musicke 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. Felici Gl'animiPrivate Musicke 2:57$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. Capriccio StravagantePrivate Musicke 1:43$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. Aurilla MiaPrivate Musicke 3:17$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen13. Torna Il Sereno ZeffiroPrivate Musicke 3:28$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen14. Foscarini: Ciacona (Improvisation)Private Musicke 1:48$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen15. Cantate, Ariette E Duetti, Op.2 - L'Eraclito Amoroso (Udite Amanti)Private Musicke 7:56$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen16. Ruiz de Ribayaz: EspanoletasPrivate Musicke 2:54$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen17. Folle É BenPrivate Musicke 3:54$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (November 22, 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Grammophon
  • ASIN: B003TVMIGG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #369,990 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
5 star
75%
4 star
13%
3 star
13%
2 star
0%
1 star
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See all 8 customer reviews
This is a thoroughly enjoyable disc of very good music, excellently performed.
Sid Nuncius
Forget about vibrato, forget about 'purity', forget about 'trills' or coloraturas...The voice alone suffices.
A. F. S. Mui
The orchestra also played engagingly, with some Spanish twist in the instrumental music selection.
Anna Shlimovich

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A. F. S. Mui on November 25, 2010
Format: Audio CD
A small ensemble, most of the time unaccompanied singing.
This is not easy stuff, even for a singer who has already built up a substantial credential.
This is an adventurous programme by Cezh operatic mezzo-soprano (or in fact a soprano?).
My only quibble is - why an entire programme of 17 tracks and over 14 songs on the same genre?
However beautiful Kozena sings, however well played the 'band', things tend to turn a bit monotonous.
I think the producer has the blame instead of the artists.

i don't understand why on earth there are people who say that Kozena does not have a beautiful voice. Her voice has a quality that is not of this world, among all the current big-named sopranos or mezzos.
Hers may not be the most dramatic, or the most lyrical. However, there is a certain freshness and ethereality that immediately one recognises as the true 'troubadour' type of singers. Forget about vibrato, forget about 'purity', forget about 'trills' or coloraturas...The voice alone suffices.

If this singer does not own a good voice, well, NO one does.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Anna Shlimovich on July 14, 2012
Format: Audio CD
Would it not be so exciting if even ONE of these lettere amorose was dedicated to yourself? It seems that an addressee would be instantly and totally seduced by any single song here - each one reveals splendid music, marvelous poetry and finally ... gorgeous singing!

Here we have, signori e singore, an amazing recording, a delightful opportunity to listen to such a rich variety of Baroque composers. Although one can easily hear the similarities in their style, the differences are pleasantly refreshing. Many songs here I have never heard before, but there are two which I immediately recognized from other recordings: the first one is "Torna il sereno Zefiro" which is also marvelously delivered by Emma Kirkby on this great recording Arias / Olympia's Lament. I shall not measure Kozená's interpretation against Kirkby's; it is interesting to listen to the same song sung by a different voice, and the soprano rendition of this song is crisp and chirping, while mezzo Magdalena paints it with warm colors of her gorgeous mezzo voice.

Another song is a breathtaking "Hor ch'è tempo di dormire", which is sung by Sara Mingardo under the baton of Rinaldo Alessandrini. I have written extensively on this song in the review of Mingardo's recording Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel; I will repeat my impression that the orchestral accompaniment here seems too ornate, considering the meaning of the text, which is a lullaby of Virgin Mary, anticipating her son's torturous fate. In Sara Mingardo's version the song is delivered with more taste and attention to the subject matter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Grady Harp HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on December 20, 2010
Format: Audio CD
How refreshing to find an album of music not readily available to the public either in concert form or in recorded form! Magdalena Kozená, now the glowing star of the Metropolitan Opera production of Pelleas and Melisande has a voice of rich, dark hued beauty that makes her the perfect choice for bringing these early Italian Baroque songs to light. She knows the technique of the singers of that era and yet still softens the effect of her performances by allowing her lovely vibrato quality color the tone. The result is a collection of very similar songs that she is able to bring to life.

The accompaniment here is provided by the Private Musicke - six stringed instruments and percussion - that allows the rather hollow sound of this music to radiate around Kozená's voice. The songs are all 'letters of love' and are not exceptionally dramatic but are intensely interesting. Apparently Kozená is touring with this repertoire currently. It would be a joy to hear it live in a small recital hall. This is an unusual recital that grows more interesting with multiple hearings. Grady Harp, December 10
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on December 2, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I honestly expected to like this performance a lot. I gave it a perfunctory five stars before I even ordered it. For one thing this is MY kind of music! And I've always been impressed with Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena, as you can confirm by finding my reviews of her previous recordings. But this CD is painfully disappointing. To my ears, it sounds as if Kozena has "tampered' with her historically-informed vocal technique, much like a baseball pitcher might tamper with his delivery, and with similar unfortunate results. She's added a near-constant fluttery vibrato, pwerhaps to color her timbre more dramatically. Vibrato seems to be a bit of a fashion in Early Music circles just now, and it 'works' for some singers in some contexts. But it doesn't work for Kozena; it spoils her tuning, making her five cents flat on many passages. Listen! You'll hear easily that when her vibrato is steadiest, her tuning falters. The best track on this CD, on the other hand, is "L'Eraclito amoroso" by Barbara Strozzi, on which Kozena uses her vibrato sparingly and only ornamentally.

If you'd like to challenge my judgment and compare, it's easy enough:
* Kozena sings the very famous "Torna ile sereno Zefiro", attributed to Sigimuondo D'India on this CD; so does nearly every mezzo who performs this repertoire. The very finest performance of it that I know of is by Jill Feldman on her CD 'Pianger di Dolcezza.' Feldman's performance is far better. In fact, that CD is better than this one in every way.
* The countertenor Derek Lee Ragin sings D'India's "Cruda amarilli" on another CD, which you can compare to Kozena's interpretation of that madrigal on this recording. Lee's falsetto is warmer and better in tune than Kozena's forced mannerism here.
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