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Monteverdi: Complete Duets 1 / Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco Import

5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Audio CD, Import, December 23, 2002
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Editorial Reviews

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Here is a brilliant example of the explosion of early music in Italy in recent years. American musicologist Alan Curtis and his Italian singers take risks galore: stretching the tempo here, making a sudden crescendo or decrescendo there--and they're not afraid to play the lighthearted pieces as broad comedy. All told, there's an excitement and daring in these performances you just don't hear from nonnative groups like the Consort of Musicke, however skilled they may be. This is not to romanticize Italianness: singing in one's native language lets a singer take risks with tempo, dynamics, and rhetoric while keeping a sense of where the boundaries of taste lie. (Imagine Italians trying that in Morley or Purcell.) There are certainly moments in this performance that some listeners will find overdone, but the performances are undeniably lively. There's no point in mentioning a favorite duet or singer--they're all fascinating. Check them out for yourself--and follow the text to really appreciate what they've achieved. --Matthew Westphal

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Zefiro torna
  2. Io son pur vezzosetta
  3. Vorrei baciarti
  4. O sia tranquillo il mare
  5. Chiome d'oro
  6. Non vedro mai le stelle
  7. Mentre vaga Angioletta
  8. Non e di gentil core
  9. Tornate, o cari baci
  10. Ohime, dov'e il mio ben
  11. Bel pastor (Aminta e Clori)
  12. Se'l vostro cor, madonna
  13. O viva fiamma
  14. Ecco vicine, o bella tigre, l'ore
  15. O come sei gentile
  16. Soave Libertate


Product Details

  • Performer: Claudio Monteverdi, Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco
  • Audio CD (December 23, 2002)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Virgin Veritas
  • ASIN: B00000I3VS
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #423,747 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Top Customer Reviews

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Pardon me if I sink into a swoon of erotic ecstacy while I write my review. It might be the natural effect of listening to this CD. Nearly all the poetic texts of these 16 duets are rhapsodies of love, either consummated or thwarted. The poetry is elegant and formulaic, and first-rate if you read Italian. Even in translation the amorous electricity crackles.

But it's the singing that earns the stars...in this case, as many as the first Giordano Bruno perceived in his infinite universe. You think you've heard singing!?! This performance raises the bar. Most of the duets are for equal voices, and those for two tenors are the most impressive. The sheer athleticism of the male singers' voices will cause a paradigm shift in the expectations of most opera lovers. Tenors Luca Dordolo and Gianpaolo Fagotto toss off as many demi-semi-quavers to a beat as any virtuosic violinist, and with perfect intonation and ensemble.

Director Alan Curtis has given the eight singers of Il Complesso Barocco the green light to use every expressive resource of their vocal techniques, every nuance of timbre and dynamic, utter freedom of tempi, diminutions, appoggiature, trills, goat trills, the kitchen sink of historically informed ornamentation, all with sparkle-clean attacks and cadences. By using all Italian singers, Curtis has guaranteed uniform language values; the words are easily intelligible to an Italian speaker. Even for those who don't speak a word of Italian, this uniformity is of value, since all the vowels and all the consonants fit together; you who are singers do know that different vowels tune differently. Once again, pardon me if I swoon about such glorious ensemble singing.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
If you love Monteverdi and early music in general, this recording is a gem. We had an old copy of this CD and finally it was so scratched that it was unplayable, so I scoured Amazon for another one; I was that desperate to have this recording. As the previous reviewers commented, the performance is just flawless; the day the CD arrived, I must have listened to "Chiome d'oro" about ten times. Get it!
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Format: Audio CD
Best recording of this repertoire that I have ever heard. Alan Curtis really understands the style and brings the best out of the singers.
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