Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Licinio Refice, Angelo Campori, George Fourie|
Refice: Cecilia (Abridged)
Why not the whole opera?
J. Schiavone | Whittier, CA USA | 12/01/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Renata Scotto is in top form, well supported by the rest of the cast. She captures the fervent religiosity of this work, which was a favorite of Renata Tebaldi. I have a recording of the complete performance on LP. I just wish the whole thing had been put on CD, not only excerpts. This music of Licinio Refice reminds me of Puccini & Respighi. The orchestration is lush, with many quotations of plainchant woven throughout. Refice was a Roman Catholic priest. I was familiar with his liturgical music, but this work reveals his art more completely."
A RARITY WELL WORTH INVESTIGATING
Klingsor Tristan | Suffolk | 08/07/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Anyone with a taste for Puccini at his sugariest, should love this piece. Rich and sweet as a zabaglione, there's nothing here to frighten anyone who can cope with Debussy (in St. Sebastien mode), Ravel or Respighi. Written in the early 30's, the harmonic and melodic vocabulary gives nary a hint that Schoenberg, Stravinsky or even Strauss had ever existed.
But, by its own lights, Cecilia is a ravishing piece. The prologue may well be familiar from Renata Tebaldi's gorgeous performance of it. And Scotto here on this VAI disc is nearly as good. Admittedly this is probably the finest music in the piece, but the other excerpts included here show a fine sense of colour and a real feeling for how to show off singers at their best in the finest Italianate traditions. Scotto's colleagues are not in her league and the tenor playing Valerian (Harry Theyard) in particular sounds a little stretched and overparted. But they do give an excellent idea of how exciting the piece could be in performance.
The vocal lines may not quite have Puccini's distinctiveness, but they are still memorable and apt. Much of the material is derived from plainsong and perhaps Refice's closest cousins are therefore Durufle and even Messiaen. But he is his own man with an individual voice and an adept touch at the richest of post-impressionist harmonies. The piece may be a rarity outside Italy but this disc is well worth investigating."