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Arias & Cantatas

5.0 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Audio CD, July 20, 2004
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Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Hor ch e Tempo Di Morire 'Canzonetta Spirituale Sopra Alla Nanna' Per Voce E Continuo
  2. Allor Che Tirsi Udia Cantata Per Voce E Continuo
  3. Deh, Memoria, E Che Piu Chiedi Cantata Per Alto E Continuo
  4. Vorrei Baciarti A Due Alti E Continuo
  5. Erme E Solighe Cime In 'La Calisto', Atto Scondo, Scena Prima
  6. Erme E Solighe Cime In 'La Calisto', Atto Scondo, Scena Prima
  7. Erme E Solighe Cime In 'La Calisto', Atto Scondo, Scena Prima
  8. Erme E Solighe Cime In 'La Calisto', Atto Scondo, Scena Prima
  9. Se I Languidi Miei Sguardi Lettera Amorosa
  10. Costei Ch'in Mezzo Al Volto Scritt'ha Il Mio Cor Cantata Per E Continuo
  11. Costei Ch'in Mezzo Al Volto Scritt'ha Il Mio Cor Cantata Per E Continuo
  12. Costei Ch'in Mezzo Al Volto Scritt'ha Il Mio Cor Cantata Per E Continuo
  13. Costei Ch'in Mezzo Al Volto Scritt'ha Il Mio Cor Cantata Per E Continuo
  14. Lungi Da Me Pensier Tiranno Cantata Per Alto E Continuo, Roma, 1709
  15. Lungi Da Me Pensier Tiranno Cantata Per Alto E Continuo, Roma, 1709
  16. Lungi Da Me Pensier Tiranno Cantata Per Alto E Continuo, Roma, 1709
  17. Lungi Da Me Pensier Tiranno Cantata Per Alto E Continuo, Roma, 1709
  18. Lungi Da Me Pensier Tiranno Cantata Per Alto E Continuo, Roma, 1709
  19. Lungi Da Me Pensier Tiranno Cantata Per Alto E Continuo, Roma, 1709
  20. Pianti, Sospiri E Dimandar Mercede Cantata Per Alto E Continuo RV 676
  21. Pianti, Sospiri E Dimandar Mercede Cantata Per Alto E Continuo RV 676
  22. Pianti, Sospiri E Dimandar Mercede Cantata Per Alto E Continuo RV 676
  23. Pianti, Sospiri E Dimandar Mercede Cantata Per Alto E Continuo RV 676


Product Details

  • 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)

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By J Scott Morrison HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 11, 2004
Format: Audio CD
This collection of arias, madrigals and cantatas from the (mostly) Italian baroque features the rich and haunting voice of Sara Mingardo, surely one of the best contraltos currently singing. The texts of most of these works are generally about lost, distant or unrequited love or about death - the 'tears, sighs and entreaties' of Vivaldi's 'Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede.' The unrelenting sadness and sighing may be a bit much to digest in one sitting, but taken in manageable bits, this CD is not only moving, but musically satisfying. Mingardo is given, not surprisingly, flexible and empathic support by Rinaldo Alessandrini and his Concerto Italiano.

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.
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Format: Audio CD
Gender lines become increasingly irrelevant as the current crop of world-class Baroque interpreters stake their territory. Just as David Daniels redefines our expectations of the countertenor voice and what a delicately beautiful sound a man can generate, Sara Mingardo is doing the same for the contralto voice and displaying how powerfully dynamic a woman can sound. This 2004 release is quite an accomplished recording of 17th- and 18th-century arias and cantatas written for women and castrati. An intensely passionate singer especially as she explores a repertoire in her native Italian, Mingardo is anything but pious in her interpretations. Her impressive vocal and theatrical abilities are on full display in the opening, "Hor ch'è tempo di morire", a nine-minute lullaby by Tarquinio Merula, where the sighing, monotonously repetitive accompaniment acts as counterpoint to her expression of Mary's heartfelt sentiment for her son's well-being in both life and inevitable death. Throughout the program, she invokes a broad gamut of emotions and stills stays true to the Baroque fach.

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.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Nothing about the physical elegance of Sara Mingardo prepares a listener for the voice that emerges from her slender frame, the richest dusky chocolate contralto since Marilyn Horne, and with a good deal more sophisticated control! Suppose that a lark perched in a tree above you, opened its beak, and out gushed a cello sonata by Bach! Mingardo's voice is truly a wonder of nature, which she has cultivated with impeccable 'historically informed' vocal technique.

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.
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