Alessandro Severo is a pasticcio, an Italian term meaning a jumble or hodgepodge. In the operatic context, it refers to a work made up of music composed for another occasion and reused with little or no change. Handel produced three pasticcio operas based on his own music: Oreste (1734), Alessandro Severo (1738), and Giove in Argo (1739); only the latter contains any substantial new music. With this release, we now have recordings of all three.
FANFARE: Ron Salemi
These are world premiere recordings and these Handel specialists have once again scored a major coup. Alessandro Severo is based on the life of a Roman emperor of the third century and is in the form of a pasticcio. Manzaro composed the Greek national anthem and the discovery of an opera by him was a major find by the Greek conductor George Petrou. Armonia Atenia perform on period instruments.
Marking the 40th anniversary of Maria Callas’ death (16th September 1977), Maria Callas Live captures the legendary soprano in action on the stages of the world’s great opera houses and concert halls. Thanks to new audio remastering from the best available sources, this set reveals Callas’ compelling genius as a singing actress with a new truthfulness and immediacy. Containing 20 complete operas – including 12 works she never recorded in the studio – and five complete filmed recitals (with two different stagings of Act 2 of Tosca) on Blu-ray, Maria Callas Live is the indispensable complement to Callas Remastered, Warner Classics’ landmark collection of her studio recordings.
Música Callada (Music of Silence) is a very special work, one of the most beautiful and elusive in the entire piano repertoire. It is extremely difficult to perform. On the one hand, there’s the temptation to stretch each piece out hypnotically, if monotonously, while quicker speeds preserve the music’s melodic essence at the expense of much of its atmosphere and harmonic richness. For although much of the music is indeed quiet, and none of it moves quickly, it is all meaningful. Mompou himself found the perfect balance between incident and repose, and of all the pianists since, Jenny Lin arguably comes closest to doing the same, only in much better sound. It’s not so much that her tempos match Mompou’s own (she’s actually not copying him–it would hardly be possible in a work containing 28 individual pieces), but rather that her phrasing and sense of timing let the music breathe and sing with its own special poetry. To take just one example, consider the sadness that Lin finds in the fourth piece, “Afflitto e penoso”, by allowing the piece’s harmonic color time to speak simply and eloquently.