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Magdalena Kozená ~ Handel Italian Cantatas / Les Musiciens du Louvre, Minkowski Import

4.3 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Beautiful Italian Cantatas played on original instruments.

Amazon.com

Only a few years since emerging as a notable singer, mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená hasn't stopped enchanting her audience. It is, after all, a rare pleasure to experience this unique voice with its warm and elegant timbre. Some of its aspects are apparent in her preceding recital, an unusual--and unusually beautiful--program of Czech love songs. With this account of Handel's Italian Cantatas, Kozená confirms the immense scope of her gifts. Better yet, her voice is once more "affirmed": it seems fresher, conveying even more emotion. Marc Minkowski and his Musiciens du Louvre are hardly to be overlooked in this absolute success. They understand in their bones the kind of scarcely veiled energy that's fitting for the music of Handel. --Pierre Guillaume
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Product Details

  • Performer: Magdalena Kozena, Anton Steck, Yann Miriel, Sebastien Marq, Jean-Louis Fiat, et al.
  • Orchestra: Les Musiciens du Louvre
  • Conductor: Marc Minkowski
  • Composer: George Frideric Handel
  • Audio CD (September 20, 2000)
  • Imported ed. edition
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: Import
  • Label: Archiv Prod Import
  • ASIN: B00004YZ35
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #292,847 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Julio Castro Karg on June 18, 2004
Format: Audio CD
I was introduced to Magdalena Kozená's voice through her very nice "Bach Arias" album a couple of years ago. Then, shortly afterwards a good friend of mine told me how wonderful this Handel album also was!

One day, I was riding in a friend's car. He had brought this album solely for me to listen and played track #3 ("Delirio Amoroso, HWV 99: Aria: Un Pensiero Voli In Ciel"). I was instantly convinced!

This whole CD is delightful, a sheer joy! Whenever I try to convince anyone of it's beauty I simply play track #3. It's funny but it always works!!!

Give track #3 a try!...
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Format: MP3 Music
I own the cd and bought the download of one track to use for class. If you are like opera and 18th century vocal music I highly recommend this album. The cantatas themselves are wonderful, and I fell in love with Kozena's voice and Handel's chamber music listening to them. As with a previous reviewer, my favorite cut is the first aria Il delirio amoroso, but the others are also performed wonderfully. It's true that Kozena scoops in and out of some notes and flattens some in the recitative. There's at least one note that sounds like she drops out of head register and into chest register while holding a note--the affect is angry and the melodic line is unsettling. But at that point in the recitative she is asking Heavenly justice to kill the man who raped her. Reasonable listeners may or may not admire the choices made here, but they seem logical and natural to me when I listen with the words in front of me. I also want to point out that these are very challenging vocal pieces
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Format: Audio CD
the title says it all - it really isnt for canary-fanciers. These early Handel pieces are mini-dramas and make fascinating, dramatic and often highly beautiful music, sometimes comparable (as in La Lucrezia) to Dido's lament (in Purcell's opus). Kozena knows that this is dramatic stuff and she really gives her all. This is no early-music milksop business and Minkowsky fans will know exactly what to expect here. I have to say that I was really surprised to hear what Miss Kozena achieves here, after her Bach arias cd. She is a totally different artist - she really has all those colors in her voice. It is true that sometimes there's a rough edge or suspect intonation, but the whole achievement raises her a few leagues in my opinion. Truly fascinating release, and thank you, Minkowsky and Kozena, for the rare opportunity of hearing these works (especially the first one).
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Format: Audio CD
Magdalena Kozena is a current favorite of the classical vocal recording scene, no small feat, with an extensive discography focusing mainly on early and Czech music. There are many pleasures to be had from this recording of three of Handel's Italian solo cantatas. Les Musiciens du Louvre is a superb Baroque ensemble, and its director, Marc Minkowski, has opted for a considerable variety of sound in the continuo that livens the recitatives in particular.

When she is not pressed by the frequently extremely quick tempi or going for too much dramatic weight in the recitatives, Kozena sings with fresh, pleasing tone and considerable fluency in the frequently intricate coloratura passages. Overall two of the cantatas, "Delirio amoroso" and "Tra le fiamme," come off well. The third, "La Lucrezia," of greater emotional range and vocally the most demanding, finds both Kozena and Minkowski going all-out for drama. Kozena's voice is simply not up to the demands she makes on it here, with consequent white, off-pitch and frequently plain unpleasant results. Whether the intended interpretation was her idea, Minkowski's, or a collaboration, it is ill-judged in terms of her particular strengths, and consequently a major blot on an otherwise good recording.
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
thank you!
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Format: Audio CD
Oh dear! It would be such a nice collection of rarely heard Handel cantatas if only Kozena didn't try to be a Bartoli or a von Otter! Not being quite in the same league as an artist and personality as the two divas, Kozena tries to infuse these cantatas with pathos and drama using lots of aggressive vocal gestures, but she isn't able to fill these creations with flesh and blood and make them believable (in this repertoire, you'd have to go back to Janet Baker to hear what I mean). So, we have exaggerated recitativi (sometimes to almost grotesque dimensions) and plain - if often ravishingly lovely - singing. I do find her voice mesmerizing when it just flows surrounded with an aura of melancholy (as in some of her earlier discs, including Handel's Dixit Dominus, also under Minkowski), but aggressive outbursts are not her cup of tea. Occasionally there are some mannerisms in the singing too and a rather disconcerting lack of variety of colour. Whatever it is - lack of comfort with the language or simply immaturity, I don't know. First of all she was badly advised and here I can't see anybody else to blame than Minkowski himself. Minkowski likes taking risks and expects his singers to follow his artistic visions. It often produces wonderfully dramatic performances, but this one is simply miscalculated. Kozena's rather delicate voice with this particular melancholic quality does not have the power to express fury and anger as volcanic eruptions. Her new disc with arias by Mozart, Gluck and Myslivecek shows that she is quite capable of expressing those emotions, using much subtler means and making them still eloquent.Read more ›
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