Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 04/12/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This exciting recording of Vivaldi cantatas for solo voice and instrumental ensemble is one of the more compelling releases of the year to date! While the music of the glorious Venetian Antonio Vivaldi is well known, especially the standard repertoire `The Four Seasons' and the choral works and chamber works - even some operas - the cantatas are rarely performed and this CD of his best ones should change that.
Philippe Jaroussky is yet another fine countertenor who is rather recent on the scene. With the growing popularity of musicians courageous and gifted enough to become successful in the countertenor repertoire (just pause for a moment and think of the significant number a star quality countertenors on the stages today), the numerous pieces for this range of voice continue to appear. Vivaldi's cantatas are refined, beautifully embellished, demanding consummate artistry of not only the high hurdles for the voice but also for the accompanying forces. Jaroussky seems to have endless breath, singing the long extended lines with total ease. His embellishments alter with each da capo as to the period born! This is a voice a great power and warmth and one that feels married to the texts.
Providing brilliant collaboration is the Ensemble Artaserse and period instruments. The variety of color is awe-inspiring and the technique of these unique musicians is impeccable. In their solo portions they produce a richly elegant - yes, Venetian sound. And in tandem with Jaroussky the complete effect is one of single purpose, line, and harmony.
This is a new CD to treasure and the sampling is generous. For this reviewer this is a new repertoire to explore and it would be difficult to imagine forces better suited to these treasures than those on this CD. Highly recommended. Grady Harp, April 05 "
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 05/20/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"PHILIPPE YOU ARE MAGNIFIQUE!!!
Philippe Jaroussky is probably the most prominent French sopranist that has emerged at the turn of the 21st century era. He has mainly focused on early music showing a peference for the works of Monteverdi, Vivaldi, Handel and several lesser-known 17th and 18th century composers. He records extensively with his own instrumental ensemble "Artaserse", as well as with the leading conductors associated with early and Baroque music, such as Rene Jacobs.
His earliest recording was in 1999 where he sang in the oratorio "Sedecia, re di Gerusalemme" under the direction of Gerard Lesne, countertenor, who also sang in the oratorio. This was my first exposure to Jarrousky; he was MAGNIFICENT!!!If you do not own this recording and you like his voice, it is still available. Please check out my customer review if interested.
The vocal selections on this disc, in addition to the five cantatas represented, include 2 arias from Vivaldi operas. However, at that time the cantatas and the operas were very closely aligned using the same instrumentation and truthfully it would be difficult to tell the difference between them had I not been previously informed.
Jaroussky has excellent vocal technique;in fact in some passages he astounds the listener. His aria: 'Cor ingrato dispietato' (from an opera) displays amazing breath control and clean clear notes. If there is something lacking it is in slow passages that demand more intensity and emotion; age and experience will certainly help!!!And his voice sounds better when the music has a high tessitura. He's a fresh new voice in the world of countertenors. My appreciation knows no bounds for the "Ensemble Artaserse";they are truly excellent and skilled on their instruments; wonderful to hear. This is really a great disc!!!!
The accompanying booklet includes pertinent information and the text(Italian) all in French, German and English. "
Great ensemble singing
Anton Zimmerling | Moscow, Russia | 10/02/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The most outstanding feature of this excellent CD is a very high quality of ensemble singing. Ensemble Artaserse is a wonderful group including two virtuoso players -Jeremie Papasergio (baroque bassoon)and Emilia Gliozzi (cello). They match excellently with the stellar French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, whose timbre is in fact instrumental, too. Although Jaroussky is certainly the star of this recording, I cannot say that other musicians are just accompanying him - they are making music together. If I were to choose the best track, my choice would be the aria 'Di verdi ulive' from Tito Manlio (track 21); here the vocal line beatifully intertwines with an obligato cello part played by Gliozzi. I am happy to have cello sonata RV 47 with Gliozzi on this CD: it is fine music, especially the last two movements. The main core on this CD are five solo cantatas by Vivaldi. I think that the best of them are Alla caccia dell'almi e de'cori RV 670 and Qual per ignoto calle RV 677, then comes Perfidissimo cor RV 674. I am less taken by Care selve, amici prati RV 671. The last item, Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede RV 676 sounds banal to my ears, though it of course gives many chances to the soloist to show up his virtuosity. The singing type 'countertenor' which seemed clear in the day of Alfred Deller and James Bowman has gradually become vague, since present day singers, who sing with a head voice have very different timbres and sing in different registers. David Daniels, for instance, often sounds as a male contralto. Philippe Jaroussky is a male soprano: his forte are melismas and coloratura in the high register - he gets it without any effort. Of course, he has many other merits. He is young, has a fresh voice, long breath and impeccable musicality - he hits the very center of each note: in this respect he reminds me of young Alfred Deller, though Jaroussky's voice, unlike Deller's is is not warm. His vocal style and instrumental timbre devoid of romantic vibrato suit perfectly to the music on this CD."
Jaroussky is exceptional
Dennis Figueroa | Orange County, CA | 09/06/2005
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Jaroussky's singing adds to the growing interest in Vivaldian opera. His performance of "Qual Dopo ..." is both a demonstration of the great technique and artistry of his beautiful voice. For those curious to explore his singing range, try his masterful deliverance of arias such as "Tu m'offendi",from La Verita en Cimento, and "Sol da te", from "Orlando Furioso" where he honors the composer with the nuances, adornments, and melodic draws of his voice. This CD would have showcased the cantata genre much better had the musical selection been more diverse in note and tempo. Nonetheless, Jaroussky is at his best!"
Vical beauty for unrequited love
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 06/11/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Philippe Jaroussky is alone singing those cantatas and he is by far brilliant and huge enough to fill our ears with the music of some God in some paradise or on some volcano in a northern sea. Every single piece is a moment of perfection. In the first cantata "Alla caccia dell' alme e de cori" he is just as good when expressing the extreme joy of triumphant love like in the first track, or when he changes and becomes dramatic, sad, full of contained fear and resignation in awe in front of the beastlike beauty that has conquered his heart, like in the second track. And he enjoys that situation of being the prey in the clutches of the praying and preying mantis he is in love with, like in his third track. The second cantata "Qual per ignoto calle" is the story of a love journey. The fourth track even compares the path to love to the frightened walk of a wayfarer in an unknown territory with all kinds of dangers, and in this situation our lover will satisfy himself with comfort in the claws of his "bella nemica mia". How can love burn so bright and strong for a woman who does not even condescend to look down at the suffering lover, but that suffering is most delicious in the promise, from no one in particular except the lover's desire, that one day maybe, maybe, maybe that Irene will answer. As usual with Vivaldi the music is a perfect accompaniment to the singing, and the singing is the perfect mate of this music. You know both are fully realized when the singing is kind of a capella and the music stands all by itself. But when music and singing are one we are on the happiest and shiniest Olympus Mount, excited to extreme pleasure by the harshness of the greedily admired woman that our singer loves. That love is strangely rhyming with tears, suffering, longing, non-satisfaction, rejection and yet it remains luminous and happy in its very unhappiness. A short pause with "Orlando furioso" that brings some deeper suffering, lower singing where the alto dominates and the soprano has retired for a while, because that's the beauty of that voice: he is able to compete with all sopranos in the world and yet at the same time he has the range of an alto and thus can cover a very open amplitude of sounds that come absolutely unstrained at both ends. Then a second pause with a prelude after Vivaldi with a theorbo solo. Very relaxing. Then a third cantata comes, "Care Selve, amici prati". Once again the love of this lover who travelled afar to follow his beloved. But he was betrayed and rejected. But the unhappy and unlucky lover who finds himself out of any hope for any satisfaction of his lust finds some solace in nature announcing more the romantic inspiration of many later poets. But this solace in nature is not without some strong anger in his heart but he builds up some strange satisfaction in a virtual love that does not exist except in his own eyes. That level of resignation is admirable and the singing as well as the music both evoke this satisfied suffering of a heart who finds his happiness in the rejection of his love, as if that love could not get consumed since it is not requited. There is in those cantatas a strange impression that we are widely moving away from sacred music and the love of the Holy Virgin in any way, but we retain the total impossibility to satisfy one's love with Mary and Vivaldi shifts it to amorous love with the same absolute emotional and carnal dissatisfaction. It can maybe remind us of the courteous love of the knight for his lady in the Middle Ages, a love that will never get its carnal satisfaction but is satisfied in its very existence in its own self. The intermezzo of the "sonata per violoncello e basso continuo" is just the perfect agitated spiritual atmosphere we need to evoke the tempest under the skull of that satisfied unsatisfied lover. The third movement and second largo is a perfect echo of the suffering lamentation of the longing lover who will get nothing from his love. But our lover gets his dynamism from that very dirge he turns into a conquering march to dissatisfaction in the fourth movement and second allegro. In the next cantata, "Perfidissimo cor! Inique fato!" the loved one is made in a way supernatural since unreachable to any human lover. But the text shifts from a male lover so far to a female rejected lover. That shift is uncatchable except with one indirect word here and there. A short intermezzo with an excerpt from "Tito Manlio" and here the singer assumes openly and clearly the fate of a girl who is neglected in her desire to be loved. The last cantata "Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede" starts with the evocation of a woman who treats her lovers like so many toys that have to suffer for her to be satisfied. The lover becomes a boatman who is the prisoner of a treacherous wind that can change from breeze to tempest in one second. The metaphor is then amplified with a direct comparison of the lover on the ocean of love treacherously ruined by the inconstant breeze of his beloved. And justice comes in the last piece with the requiting of that harsh heart when it finally falls in love and finds only rejection and condescending neglect in the men she wants. A sort of promised vengeance to the lover of this beloved who will never know love since she neglects him who loves her. But what a trip in the Eden-like realm of Jaroussky's crystal voice.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne, University Paris 8 Saint Denis, University Paris 12 Créteil, CEGID "