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Philippe Jaroussky - Un concert pour Mazarin
Girolamo Frescobaldi, Giovanni Battista Bassani, Luigi Rossi
Philippe Jaroussky - Un concert pour Mazarin
Genres: Special Interest, Pop, Classical
  •  Track Listings (14) - Disc #1


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Music that takes you up to heaven.
Abel | Hong Kong | 05/30/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This recording was made back in 2003. It has taken Virgin Classics nearly 5 years to publish it.
The disc features music composed in the first half of the 17th century, mainly Italian music being introduced into France by Cardinal Mazarin.
So much for the musical background.
If you love music of the early Baroque and post-Renaissence period, this disc will surely satisfy you to the full.
The instruments employed in the small ensemble are period instruments, and the album contains showcases of various instrumental combinations. The crowning aspect of the ensembles lies in the listen-to-believe counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky's angelic voice.
Subsequent to this recording, Jaroussky has made many other solo albums mainly from the Baroque repertoire, notably Vivaldi.
While his Vivaldi is superb, the present recording, in my own view, represents the best of his vocal capabilities.
The excerpts and songs mainly focus on his middle to upper range, and with his solely head-voiced timbre, projects a stunningly serene and beautiful sound that no sopranos or mezzos are capable of: the sound is bigger, rounder, fuller and more supple. Without stretching himself as in his other Vivaldi arias, Jaroussky here concentrates on his biggest strength and absolute vocal command.
This disc really should not be missed."
Spectacular in Every Way ! Buy It Now!
Giordano Bruno | Wherever I am, I am. | 02/18/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)

""A Concert for Mazarin" is not just a showcase for the great soprano Philippe Jaroussky. Cornetto virtuoso Jean Tubery catches the limelight on more tracks than Jaroussky; he and the other members of ensemble La Fenice adore this 'last-gasp of the Renaissance' repertoire, which allows them more scope for improvisation than the formal Baroque, and their enjoyment of it shows in the exuberance of their playing. Bassani, Cima, and Frescobaldi all wrote in the tradition of Renaissance "division" playing, usually in variations over chaconnes and passacaglias but sometimes over earlier 'hit' songs like La Monica, recorded here.

Jaroussky is never less than marvelous, of course, but on this CD he is spurred to excel by the cornetti, those amazingly fluid and voice-like instruments. The best tracks on the CD are the duets between Jaroussky and Tubery on mute cornetto, human and instrumental voices matching timbre and phrasing flawlessly. In fact, the uncanny similarity of Jaroussky's male soprano and Tubery cornetto constitutes a fair argument for the authenticity of counter-tenor singing for music of the 17th Century.

Tubery makes an art of playing both the curved 'black' cornetto in G, with a detachable mouthpiece, and the straight cornetto muto with its integrated mouthpiece and softer tone, usually a step lower in F. If you have no idea what a cornetto looks like, and can't quite imagine the instrument that makes such elegant sounds, I suggest you look for pictures on wikipedia or videos of a player on youtube. But the cornetto is not the only elegant player on this CD. The harpsichord and bassoon are outstanding, and the violins hold their own.

As I said above, this is not strictly speaking a Baroque concert. Rather, this music straddles the border between Renaissance Apollonian and Baroque Dionysian, between otherworldly polyphony and earthly passion. Thus you'll hear some rare experiments of genre and 'mixed style', not quite like anything earlier or later. If indeed this was the sort of music the Italian Cardinal Mazarin brought with him to the royal court of France, then Mazarin was a tasteful conservative, whose choices must have hearkened back to his Italian childhood.

Variety and virtuosity, musical wit and poetic passion - this is a 'concert' you don't want to miss."