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A. Scarlatti Cantatas, Volume III / McGegan, Brian Asawa

Alessandro Scarlatti , Arcadian Academy , Nicholas McGegan , Brian Asawa Audio CD
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Performer: Brian Asawa
  • Conductor: Arcadian Academy, Nicholas McGegan
  • Composer: Alessandro Scarlatti
  • Audio CD (April 4, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
  • ASIN: B000023YQ8
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,102 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Nel Silenzio Comune: Introduzione - Grave
2. Nel Silenzio Comune: Corrente
3. Nel Silenzio Comune: Minuetto
4. Nel Silenzio Comune: Recitativo Accompagnoato
5. Nel Silenzio Comune: Aria - Largo: Nel Dormir L'anima Mia
6. Nel Silenzio Comune: Recitativo: E Pure, E Pure Voi Dormite
7. Nel Silenzio Comune: Aira - Andante: Pupille Care
8. Nel Silenzio Comune: Recitativo: Ma No, Dormi, Ben Mio
9. Nel Silenzio Comune: Aria: Se Nagasti Vegliando
10. Nel Silenzio Comune: Recitativo: Filli, Filli Crudele Destati
11. Nel Silenzio Comune: Aria - A Tempo Guisto: Accio Che Rimbombe Intorno Al Ben Mio
12. Ferma Omai: Andante Moderato:
13. Ferma Omai: Recitativo: Ov'unque Il Guardo Giri
14. Ferma Omai: Andante Giusto: Va, Va Che I Lamenti Miei
15. Clori Vezzosa, E Bella: Recitativo
16. Clori Vezzosa, E Bella: Aria - Andante Lento: Volgi Lo Sguardo
17. Clori Vezzosa, E Bella: Recitativo: Vivo Vivo Penando
18. Clori Vezzosa, E Bella: Aria - Allegro: Si, Ben mio, Si
19. Piango, Sospiro E Peno: Ariso
20. Piango, Sospiro E Peno: Aria: Ah'crudele-Non Ti Basta
See all 28 tracks on this disc

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

[Note: This product is an authorized CD-R and is manufactured on demand]

Amazon.com

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


Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best of the Three . . . June 29, 2000
By A Customer
Format:Audio CD
If you must have one CD of Alessandro Scarlatti's cantatas, here is the one to get. Cantatas I and II are collecting dust in my CD tower, but I gave this disc a permanent slot in my jukebox. Nicholas McGegan and the Arcadian Academy are competent as usual, but what makes Cantatas III shine is countertenor Brian Asawa's marvelously pellucid voice and his skillful interpreation. If McGegan plans to record a complete cycle of Alessandro Scarlatti's cantatas, he should look again to Brian Asawa, who is a master of early-music. Anecdotal addenda: I played Cantatas III at work, and fellow cubicle-dwellers who are not fans of classical or early-music went out and bought this CD. A co-worker plays Cantatas III during her rush hour commute. Asawa's soothing voice calms her nerves. That's quite a feat in Washington, DC traffic!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Continuo Anyone? Anyone? May 20, 2000
Format:Audio CD
In the 17th century, Alessandro Scarlatti enjoyed great fame as a composer of opera and chamber cantatas popular in the salons of nobility. The cantata was considered higher art with an emphasis on the poetry that preceded the music. Much of Scarlatti's works are marked by unusual uses of form and harmony, which all served to better illustrate the text. This recording, his third volume of cantatas, is morose in spirit. Beginning with "Nel silenzio comune", the texts portray a young man suffering rejection, nursing the wounds of love. Characterized by a weeping motif "Ferma Omai" prompts harmonies that darken in the accompaniment. In "Clori Vezzosa" and "Piango Sospiri e Peno" chromaticisms are incorporated as a reflection of despair and loathing. The "Non so qual piu m'ingombra" deviates from typical chamber cantatas in that it's subject is not love, but the rapture of the birth of Christ. Recorded by the Arcadian Academy, conducted by Nicholas McGegan, this is an exquisite performance of these often-overlooked chamber works for voice and continuo. At the forefront of a new wave of countertenors, Brian Asawa has a purity of tone, resembling a transparent veil, through which he conveys the text and the meaning of the music with brilliance.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a voice teacher and early music fan March 24, 2007
Format:Audio CD
OH! HOW I LOVE TO SUFFER!

Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725) noted especially for his operas and cantatas. He was the most widely performed Italian composer of vocal music, with more than 60 operas and well over 600 cantatas. At that time cantatas were regarded as the higher, more concentrated artistic form. The vast majority of the cantatas are for a single high voice(soprano or alto); only a few are for two. There was an emphasis on the poetry that preceded the music. In order to better illustrate the text with which he was working, Scarlatti made frequent use of unusual forms and harmonies.

This collection of five cantatas is morose in spirit, beginning with 'Nel silenzio commune', the text of which portrays a young man suffering rejection, nursing the wounds of love. It has the larger number of movements consisting of 4 recitatives followed by 4 arias; all preceded by a three-movement 'sinfonia'. It is also the earliest of the group.

'Ferma omai'(Escape not)is dated 1724; characterized by a weeping motif, thus prompting darkened harmonies in the accompaniment. It is scored for a string group, and has unusual form - a recitative sandwiched between 2 arias.

In 'Clori vezzosa, e bella' and 'Piango, sospiro, e peno', chromaticism is incorporated as a reflection of despair and loathing.

'Non so qual piu m'ingombra' deviates from typical chamber cantatas in that the subject is not love, but the rapture of the birth of Christ.

This performance conducted by Nicholas McGegan is an excellent portrayal of often-overlooked chamber works for voice and continuo. Countertenor Brian Asawa, discovered his own falsetto voice when he was a young choir member.
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