- Performer: Bernarda Fink, Dorothea Roschmann, Graciela Oddone, Richard Croft, Antonio Abete, et al.
- Orchestra: Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin
- Conductor: Rene Jacobs
- Composer: Alessandro Scarlatti
- Audio CD (October 27, 1998)
- SPARS Code: DDD
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Import
- Label: Harmonia Mundi Fr.
- ASIN: B00000DG06
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,705 in CDs & Vinyl (See Top 100 in CDs & Vinyl)
A. Scarlatti - Il primo omicidio overo Cain / B. Fink · Oddone · Röschmann · R. Croft · Abete · Jacobs
Audio CD | Import
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This oratorio for six voices concerns, as the title implies, the murder of Abel by Cain. Though the possibility of one Baroque da capo aria after another may strike fear into your heart, fear not: Scarlatti sprinkles arias throughout, interspersing them with dramatic recitatives, duets, a trio, and brief, scene-setting orchestral interludes with a small but colorfully used group of instruments, all beautifully played here. Moreover, the voice parts vary: Adam and Eve are tenor and soprano, respectively; Cain and Abel are alto and soprano; and the voice of God and Lucifer are countertenor and bass. For a two-and-a-quarter hour oratorio from 1707, this work never tires the ear or emotions: A nice listening experience, all the way round. --Robert Levine
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Top customer reviews
Bernarda Fink and Graciela Oddone, as Cain and Abel, bring little subtlety to their roles until the second act, when the powerful emotions inscribed in the libretto finally overcome the conservatory vibrato of their first-act performances. Strange to say, considering Rene Jacobs's reputation, this whole performance is marred by a broad and stodgy vocal style more suggestive of the earliest decades of the Baroque revival than of contemporary historically informed performance practice.
Detaching the music from the performance is never easy, but I think this oratorio has more potential than Jacobs has revealed. Even so, it's a less interesting and affective score than La Santissima Trinita (recorded spectacularly by Europa Galante) or Sedecia Re di Gerusalleme (sung superbly by Lasne and Jaroussky with Il Seminario Musicale). I'd certainly recommend those two CD sets before this one.
The overt difference between the opera and the oratorio in Scarlatti's era was that operas narrated classical Greco-Roman stories, while oratorios portrayed Christian subjects. Scarlatti's oratorios have an implicit pedagogical intent. The portrayal of Cain's murder of his brother Abel in Scarlatti's libretto expands the story well beyond the Biblical text, and concludes with Adam philosophizing about the death of his younger son at the hand of his elder: "Abel...had to die, the injustice was permitted by God so that as a mortal, I should recognize myself in him, he punished one to set an example to others." I have the distinct impression that Alessandro struggled with the theological implications of his libretto; at any rate, he hastens to conclude the oratorio with a Duo Allegrissimo expressing the joy of the bereaved parents at God's promise of a lineage for Adam.
The music is simply superb and the performers are all fantastic!
As usual, Jacobs is beyond reproach and each and every soloist is simply marvelous!
It's unbelievable how easy it is to fall in love with this work! I've been playing it over and over, and the more I play it the more I like it!
This album is a must for any baroque music lover!!!