Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Antonio Caldara, René Jacobs, Basel Scola Cantorum|
Caldara - Maddalena ai piedi di Cristo
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Thrilling and luxurious masterpiece
J. R. Gunsell | Cambridge, UK | 09/25/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Action-packed and luxurious.Despite the title of this piece, this is not 'churchy' music. It has everything that good drama has, and if it were a book it would be unputdownable. Caldara gives us action, showing himself to be every bit as much dramatist as composer. The story and the pace never flag for a minute. René Jacobs moves it along at a cracking pace and makes it a memorable event. It must have been wonderful to take part.Amor Celeste and Amor Terreno are battling for the heart and soul of Maddalena. It opens with Fink's stunning Amor Terreno, seductive enough to capture the heart of a stone. In trying to win Maddalena, her ornamentations paint vivid pictures of "drunk with pleasure". Then, in charges Scholl's Amor Celeste, powerful and confident of winning the battle hands down - but then so is Fink's Amor Terreno, full of strength and depth. You can't take sides at their declaration of war, the duet Alle vittorie, because both are convincing - and their voices blend perfectly. The sheer strength of Scholl's voice in this piece brushes aside the familiar accusations of "too ethereal".Their awesome battle duets punctuate the unfolding drama as Maddalena agonises - in dialogue with her sister - over her choices, and the orchestra supports them with real fire. The chest-thumping opening provided by Chiara Banchini's string band in the duet La mia virtude/Il senso è un nemico makes an impact that would lift you off your seat in a concert hall (if only). When Amor Terreno is finally defeated, the colours of her fury are so vivid you can taste it, and it's clear that the only destiny for such rage is Hell. Amor Celeste's victory-celebration Su, lieti festeggiate has the earthy gusto of mens' peasant dances. A rather earthy sound for Amor Celeste at this point... even the metaphysical Mr Scholl sounds as though he could stomp his feet.This recording made Maria Cristina Kiehr a star, and she has never sounded better than as Maddalena. Her clear voice expresses longing, indecision, passion and tranquillity with equal facility, and is never less than completely beautiful. Her expressions, as Maddalena changes course, develop brilliantly. Her cry of "Signor, pietate!" is the pivot of the whole thing - high drama indeed.All the singers are now stars, and every performance is stunning. Un-improvable.So many of the tunes are completely original and whistle-able, even dance-able, that I am surprised they are not better known. They certainly stick in the memory, if only because the repeat button on the CD player gets a lot of use. This composition is a masterpiece and the 2-CD set a great Baroque luxury.The very last note is a complete surprise -- pure genius from Caldara."
What a discovery!
J. Luis Juarez Echenique | Mexico City | 12/09/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Antonio Caldara is one of those names record companies have ignored for too long. So it was a delight to see Harmonia Mundi interested in this very important baroque composer. The work itself is a masterpiece, the music is gorgeous, this must be one of the most significant discoveries of the 90's. Conductor Rene Jacobs has a superb ear for textures, his pacing is just admirable. The soloists couldn't be bettered, with the pure adorable voice of Maria Cristina Kiehr as Maddalena, and Bernarda Fink and Andreas Scholl as the Amore Terreno and Amore Celeste. If you don't know this oratorio, you are in for a big surprise!"
Dvir Ofek | Israel | 03/17/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"It took almost a year 'till I finally got this CD and it was worth while waiting. This is undoubtedly the best CD in my collection (out of 400 titles), and I would highly recommend it to any Baroque lover: pure celestial voices, perfect direction and an amazing music which brings tears to my eyes every time I hear it, eventhough I'm not religious nor christian.
Dear reader, trust me on this - you must have it!"