- Audio CD (July 20, 2004)
- Number of Discs: 1
- Label: Alliance
- ASIN: B000249EXS
- Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,302 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
Arias & Cantatas
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All but one of the works are by Italians; the exception is Handel's cantata 'Lungi da me pensier tiranno!' ('Leave me, tormenting thought!') which is, of course, set to an Italian text. All the works are effective, but particularly so is one previously unfamiliar to me (and the first selection on the disc), the 9-minute 'Hor ch'e tempo di morire' ('When the time comes to die, sleep, my son, do not cry') by Tarquinio Merula (ca. 1595-1665), a composer previously only a name to me. It is hauntingly set against two rocking minor chords that repeat ceaselessly for most of the length of the 'canzonetta spirituale sopra alla nanna,' a lullaby sung by the Virgin Mary to the Baby Jesus. The effect is hypnotizing.
Equally effective is 'Deh, memoria, e che più chiedi?' ('Say, memory, what more do you want?') by Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) which contains some ravishing pianissimo singing by Mingardo. Also included are pieces by Giovanni Salvatore (1600-ca.Read more ›
Although the disc is billed with the three most famous composers (Handel, Vivaldi and Monteverdi), I feel her decorous vocal production seems particularly well executed on the beautifully moving works by Carissimi ("Deh, memoria, e che più chiedi") and Legrenzi ("Costei ch'in mezzo al volto scritt'ha il mio cor"), which Mingardo seems to relish and on which she lavishes the full measure of her rich tone. The last section of the Vivaldi cantata, "Piani, sospiri e dimandar mercede" reveals her sharp technique and rhythmic control even more than the preceding Handel cantata, "Lungi da me pensier tiranno", a good but not great early piece from the master.Read more ›
Likewise, nothing about the cover or title of this CD prepares a listener for the dramatic intensity of the music recorded here, all arias of despair and lamentation, music for the dark nightingale amid the somber cypresses of the baroque obsession with the beauty of death. A more perfect showcase for Mingardo's contralto could not be assembled, and I'm sure this was the intent: to unburden all of Music's griefs in a flowing cantilena of loveliness.
That unprepossessing cover mentions only Monteverdi, Vivaldi, and Handel, but the program includes works by Cavalli, Carissimi, Giovanni Legrenzi, Giovanni Salvatore, and Tarquinio Merula, all active composers of the 17th and early 18th Centuries. The Merula 'canzonetta spirituale' - the first track on the CD - is a monody sung over a hypnotic continuo of two chords in a single triplet measure; the text is a 'lullaby' sung by Mary to the Baby Jesus, consoling her Son for the inevitable anguish of crucifixion. The origin of the text isn't specified in the program notes, but the mystically anguished Italian poem, 12 stanzas long, is forcefully translated in English.
After the Merula, almost any operatic dirge about unrequited passion might be expected to sound melodramatic, and indeed that's the case.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Having a recording like this makes one feel pity for the omnipotent lords of Italy for whom this music was originally composed and performed, as even they, in all their might,... Read morePublished on July 13, 2012 by Anna Shlimovich
Sara Mingardo is an artist of immense musicianship. She has a glorious voice with superb control. This is a repertoire that should be heard more than it is. Read morePublished on June 9, 2009 by Darlene H. Moak