Domenico Mazzocchi (1592-1665) was a Roman composer who spent part of his career in the service of the Vatican. He composed both sacred and secular vocal music, developing the pioneering principles of Monteverdi's 'seconda prattica'. As this present disc sets out to demonstrate, the results are fascinating and impressive.
This survey of the various sacred and secular forms exercised by Mazzocchi is performed by the Elyma Ensemble, directed by Gabriel Garrido. They boast an exceptionally fine group of eleven solo voices, further supported by a chorus and instrumental ensemble. As is indicated by the title, the choice of works concentrates on the expression of the interwoven themes of sacred devotion and secular love. The opening 'Dialogo della Cantica', expressing love of Christ, is scored for solo soprano voice with a rich accompaniment of viols and continuo instruments, with soprano echo effects and with other voices joining in towards the end. It is not clear whether the words represent the feelings of the Virgin Mary or of Mary Magdalene; but it is an expressive, elegaic piece, its solo part beautifully sung by Maria Cristina Kiehr. The total effect is beautiful, especially at its close.
This is followed by four secular works of which the first is 'Guerra immmortal', a vivid concertato piece for voices with lively instrumental contributions. There are then further lively, varied and passionate madrigal pieces, again with instrumental accompaniment. The fifth item, 'S'io mi parto, ò mio bel sole', is a very attractive Ciaccona with lovely instrumental interludes, the demanding soprano part very finely sung by Bárbara Kusa. In fact, the consistent excellence of the Ensemble Elyma's voices enables a very democratic distribution of the solo parts throughout the disc, with beautiful results in every case.
The next section (tracks 6 and 7) consists of two works devoted to Maria Magdalena, again graced by lovely soprano solo parts joined at times by chorus and instruments. The final group of works (tracks 8-13) are 'spiritual sonnets and madrigals'. The opening of 'Or che sepolto' is beautifully atmospheric in its low tessitura. 'No me mueve mi Dios' offers another ravishing solo rendition, this time from mezzo-soprano Rosa Domínguez. 'Colombella' is a piece of great charm, and the programme then closes with the Dialogo 'Christo smarrito (Lamento della Beata Vergine)', its solo part once again superbly delivered by Maria Cristina Kiehr.
It's all lovely music, beautifully performed and with some outstanding examples of really fine singing. Garrido's Ensemble Elyma are one of today's finest baroque ensembles and they have already brought us many superb recordings – including my own favourite recording of Monteverdi's 'Selva Morale e Spirituale'. The present offering of music by a little-known composer succeeds admirably in its aim of depicting Domenico Mazzocchi as a worthy successor to the great pioneer Monteverdi in the field of sacred and secular vocal music, just as Cavalli was in the domain of opera.
Recorded sound is excellent and the booklet notes are extremely enlightening. Unfortunately, no texts are offered – a serious handicap in this music in which expression of the chosen texts is all-important. Unless your Italian is good enough to follow and understand the singers' words, this is a severe disadvantage to the listener. In some cases the general content of works is indicated in the booklet notes, but this is nowhere near enough. There's no indication that the texts are available on line either – I also tried to find them for myself and failed. I can't imagine why the K617 label feel they can exercise such laziness and lack of consideration for the customer. So, for this serious omission, a superb disc loses one of the five stars which it would otherwise richly deserve.
- Outlet Anciennes collections, fin de séries, articles commandés en trop grande quantité, … découvrez notre sélection de produits à petits prix Profitez-en !
- Publiez votre livre : sur Kindle Direct Publishing En format papier ou ebook c'est simple et rapide et vous pourrez toucher des millions de lecteurs en quelques clics ici !
- Plus de 10 000 ebooks indés à moins de 3 euros à télécharger en moins de 60 secondes .
- Gratuit : téléchargez l'application Amazon pour iOS et Android et facilitez vos achats sur smartphones et tablettes ! Découvrez les avantages de l'application Amazon.