Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 04/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Trying to describe Philippe Jaroussky's voice is like trying to find fresh adjective for a vintage wine: butterscotch and vanilla, with plenty of oak and a hint of pear! Describing his technique is more straightforward: perfect pitch control, expressive dynamics from intimate to operatic, astonishing agility in singing the most lickety-split 'passagi' of 32nd notes, thrillingly masculine affect even in his coloratura range. What? Coloratura? Yes, Jaroussky is a male soprano, with the ability to sing, not squeak, passages well above the range of most countertenors.
This CD is a showcase of his vocal talents. The twelve motets have been well selected for variety, from the simplicity of O Quam Suavis to the aerial acrobatics of Corda Lingua in Amore, even though all twelve are Marian devotional pieces from 17th Century Italy. Vaiety is enhanced by the inclusion of several duet motets, featuring the voice of Marie-Nicole Lemieux, whose warm contralto blends well with Jaroussky's steely blue soprano. Of the composers, only Frescobaldi could be considered well known even to specialists; the others - Rigatti, Caprioli, Mattioli - are forgotten masters of the glorious Venetian and Roman musical establishments of the early Baroque. All are the heirs of Monteverdi. While this program of motets was obviously selected to exhibit Jaroussky's virtuosity, there isn't a single mediocre piece to be heard. The three pieces by Alessandro Grandi in particular make me wonder whether there might not be a lot more stunning music to be discovered by these obscure Italians.
Jaroussky is supported by Ensemble Artaserse -- two violins, viola da gamba, baroque guitar, theorbo, and organ/harpsichord. The instrumentalists get their chance to display their art on Giovanni Battista Bassani's Sonata Prima. This is a gifted young ensemble, whose work will merit future attention.
What perverse art director selected the cover for this CD? A blank wall of tattered posters? There's nothing tattered or blank about this performance, and Jaroussky, judging by his photo inside the CD case, is quite a hunk in addition to a major vocal artist."
Another Jaroussky Album of High Distinction
Abel | Hong Kong | 07/31/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I love this album's selection. Solely devoted to sacred songs to the Blessed Virgin, and sung with such soul and beauty by one of today's most gifted singers, nothing less than a baroque specialist of true colour. Jaroussky studied and specialised in baroque and medieval music, so his resume goes, before he ventured into vocal training. So even if he had not been trained as a vocalist for many years (3 years at conservatory), his musicality had already been well-developed during his pre-vocal studies (of the violin). This accounts for the reason of his being able to pull off disc after disc of baroque and renaissance works with such distinction. The previous hard work pays well off. I find nothing to fault the cover design of this disc. It is very sentimental, and highly artistic. A wonderful token to the Blessed Virgin. Unreservedly recommended, Catholic or non-religious listeners alike."
Philipp Jaroussky, countertenor
Go for Baroque | Denver | 03/19/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Philipp Jaroussky is one the newer crop of well trained countertenors who are reviving much beautiful Baroque music. The sound and quality of such singers varies greatly from the disappointing to the astonishing. Philipp's voice is one of the better ones. It is clear and distinct (not breathy), agile (he hits higher notes without scooping), strong (suitable for opera on stage), and he appears to be capable of singing higher than many countertenors (which opens up additional roles to him.)
I have sought out several of Philipp's CD, but this one I discovered left over at Tower Records after their one-month-long going-out-of-business sale. I'm pleased that the hundreds of shoppers had no idea of what a gem this recording is and passed it by so that I would find it. Keep your eyes and ears open for further products by this fine singer."
Love Songs to the Queen of Heaven
Miz Ellen | Bovine Universe | 09/10/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Philippe Jaroussky teams up with Ensemble Artaserse to produce a jewel of an album of Italian Baroque motets to the Virgin Mary. Each one of these tracks is music rarely performed today. Listening is like finding a coin unexpectedly. Whether you think a certain piece is a penny, a nickel, a quarter or a golden doubloon may depend on ones mood, but it's nice to think that all these coins from the 17th century have been gathered up and kept safe for future ages. Few things are lovelier than a good countertenor voice floating over the violins. Philippe Jaroussky may be one of the great ones; he sounds like a fine boy soprano, but with the control and fire of an adult. If I said he sounded like crystal it wouldn't convey the tenderness of rose petals. The fine contralto Marie-Nicole Lemieux is heard on a couple of tracks. I'm sure this isn't perfect. Let me play a few hundred more times and I'll tell you then..."
David Thierry | Chicago, IL United States | 01/15/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Mr. Joroussky is already a dazzling star in the firmament and anything he does probably sells itself. The voice is particularly beautiful and exquisite in it's abilities. So if you are unfamiliar with him and this period of music, this cd is a pretty good place to start. He doesn't sound like a counter tenor and I suppose male soprano is a better designation. He certainly is perfect for the time period."