Vivaldi - Nisi Dominus & Stabat Mater / Lemieux, Jaroussky, Ensemble Matheus, Spinosi
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This is French Vivaldi--meaning the ebullience is turned down (just) a notch, the sensuality, suavity, and `poetry' turned up. The solo voices are the principal features and strengths of these performances. Philippe Jaroussky's counter-tenor voice is as close to a female contralto as I've heard (more silver alloyed with the normal copper), which suits the music well. Not until the last strong note of the Nisi Dominus do we hear his true gender emerge. It also creates a stunning close mix with contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux in the brief Crucifixus, the middle work of the program. Lemieux is the star of the Stabat Mater, a noticeably darker work in theme (Mary at the foot of the cross) and musical color. This is more difficult music to perform successfully, depending as it does on illuminating detail within dark shadows. The orchestra handles the lighting wonderfully, while Lemieux secures the foreground with a voice at least as strong Jaroussky's, perhaps stronger.
The instrumental textures from the period strings are as light and crisp as autumn leaves. Solo cello and doubled violin passages are wonderfully alive with color. The spirit of Aerial dominates the Nisi; a darker one, the Holy Spirit or some earthly counterpart, controls the Stabat. The recording engineer is open to each in turn. You wont' find better Vivaldi anywhere. -- Positive-Feedback.com, Bob Neill, October 2008
The young Canadian contralto brings a gorgeous sound, a mature sense of phrasing and great presence to this pulsing, dignified portrait of suffering. From a compilation disc, with Jean-Christophe Spinosi and Ensemble Matheus, of tracks from Lemieux's recordings for the French label, Naïve. -- The Globe and Mail, Robert Everett-Green, December 7, 2009
Top Customer Reviews
Director Jean-Christophe Spinosi
Philippe Jaroussky, countertenor
Marie-Nicole Lemieux, mezzo soprano
gave a series of celebrated concerts of Vivaldi's Orlando Furioso in 2003 which got rave reviews. Listening to this CD, one realizes that Vivaldi was an incredible composer and a priest who happened to compose operas. The loveliness of the violin passages where the voices of the singer float above, the rich sensual abandon of Lemieux's voice as she sings the Virgin's lament, the crystal clarity of Jaroussky, the counterpoint as their two voices play off of one another--all this makes for an album I strongly recommend to people who think the only thing that Vivaldi wrote was "The Four Seasons". This will blow your socks off.
The Nisi Dominus ("Except the Lord build the house, their labour is but lost that build it") is less immediately dramatic in terms of subject matter and can be considered more of a showpiece. The showman is Philippe Jaroussky, who hopefully needs no introduction.Read more ›
And then of course there is Vivaldi's opera and vocal music to consider as well. While the Gloria enjoys an ubiquity almost on par with the Four Seasons, there is a whole array of sacred and stage music out there awaiting discovery. This disc is a fine place to start.
Nisi Dominus is a setting of Psalm 126 (plus the "Glory Be') from 1703. It begins with a robust minor-key movement and continues alternating fast and slow movements. A particular highlight is fourth track (which begins with the words "Cum dederit dilectis suis somnun" (for so He giveth His beloved sleep). Slow pulsations in the strings (much like in the "Winter" concerto) give way to a calm that will make you want to stay in bed all day.Read more ›
Stabat matter by Vivaldi, was a revelation to me, and made me look differently at Vivaldi and to further explore his works. I did not expect something so touching and beautiful, music that is simply sublime. This is one of my favorite pieces of music of all time and it opened my horizons to the beautiful sounds of the Baroque, so mysterious and alluring, and so different than what we were taught to think "classical music" is.
The renewed interest in early western and Baroque music in the last century and especially the last 50 years means we can again listen to masterpieces like this, performed by musicians that have dedicated themselves to revealing the almost lost musical legacy of the time in which this music was composed, and celebrating it's magnificence and beauty.
Most notable in this Baroque revival is the huge surge in popularity of Contra tenor repertoire in the last few years, and that is greatly due to Phililppe Jaroussky . He is not only a fabulous singer and performer but has chosen so wisely to collaborate with other outstanding musicians whose understanding and love to the baroque tradition can simply transcend us through time and reveal a whole new world for us.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this CD! The music and the voices are just amazing. It's a great CD. I would recommend it to anyone who loves classic music. Philippe's voice is extraordinary. Love it!Published on July 17, 2008 by Susana Nunez
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