This disc is really something special. Collectors are so spoiled for choice in the baroque repertoire at present, particularly on period instruments, but even in a glutted market this disc stands out for imaginative repertoire selection and outstanding interpretation. Its particularly gratifying, in these days of complete editions of everything, to see a discerning artist like Giuliano Carmignola choose four remarkably diverse works by three different composers, and simply play the living daylights out of them. The result roundly disproves the notion that Italian baroque violin concertos all sound the same, a point made even more forcefully by imaginative continuo work (on harpsichord, lute, and organ) by the Venice Baroque Orchestra that helps to emphasize each pieces individual character. The two Vivaldi concertos, for example, couldnt be more different.
“Kurt Rydl crowns a fine stage career with a gloriously eccentric impersonation of La Roche…The singing honours belong entirely to Angelika Kirchschlager as Clairon.” (BBC Music Magazine). “this Countess's preference for 'Ton' over 'Wort' is clear from the start…The greatest pleasure of the performance, for me, undoubtedly comes in the wonderful playing of the Staatsoper orchestra, the sweet, tender strings and the mellifluous horns in particular; and Christoph Eschenbach conducts a leisurely and loving account of Strauss's gorgeous score.” (Gramophone Magazine)
The Spanish label Glossa seems to be releasing a fair amount of sacred music, especially from the Neapolitan realms of the 17th and 18th centuries, such as the rerelease of the Alessandro Scarlatti Lamentations reviewed elsewhere, though to be fair they are also a conduit, as in this recording, for other European firms as well. This selection of late 17th-century Lessons from Holy Week, along with a few instrumental works for filler, fits nicely within Glossa’s repertoire, which includes Johann Sebastian Bach and Pierre Bouteiller, in addition to a rather quirky offering titled Monteverdi Meets Jazz .
Rondo Veneziano is an Italian chamber orchestra, specializing in Baroque music, playing original instruments, but incorporating a rock-style rhythm section of synthesizer, bass guitar and drums, led by Maestro Gian Piero Reverberi, who is also the principal composer of all of the original Rondo Veneziano pieces. The unusual addition of modern instruments, more suitable for Jazz, combined with Reverberi's arrangements and original compositions, have resulted in lavish novel versions of classical works over the years. As a rule in their concert tours, the musicians, mostly women, add to the overall Baroque effect wearing Baroque-era attires and coiffures.