[Note: This product is an authorized CD-R and is manufactured on demand]
The Italian baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti
(1660-1725) wrote more than 600 solo voice cantatas, five of which are included on Volume III of this BMG series. They are performed by the Japanese American countertenor Brian Asawa
and the period instruments of the U.S.-based Arcadian Academy
, which takes its name from a 17th-century society of artistic and aristocratic intellectuals living in Rome. They would meet weekly for arty discussions and sponsored the careers of certain artists, Alessandro Scarlatti included.
Asawa's operatic voice is high and feminine, which suits Scarlatti, as he composed these cantatas for castrati. All but one are about love, especially the pain of it, which is ironic because the castrati were incapable of it. Asawa sighs and keens with beautiful self-pity as he suffers the cutting edge of Cupid's darts in "Nel silenzio." In "Ferma Omai," he weeps, rejected by a fleeing shepherdess (very Arcadian). In "Clori Vezzosa," he blames his love for his anguish and in "Piango Sospiri e Peno," misery itself makes him miserable. In "Non so qual," he is happy, but that is because Jesus has been born and women are not involved. Conductor Nicholas McGegan keeps the sad, dry, silver strings moving. The harpsichord adds a sparkling continuo and the archlute and theorbo plunk audibly in the background when nothing else is happening. --Rick Jones