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Monteverdi: Madrigali Guerrieri et amorosi libro ottavo.

The music on Claudio Monteverdi: Madrigali Guerrieri et amorosi libro ottavo (Astree Auvidis E8546, rec 1994), performed by La Capella Reial de Catalunya under the direction of Jordi Savall, comes from the other end of Monteverdi's career and a largely Iberian group of performers-but Savall has taken the canny step of importing several Italian singers, including Daniele Carnovich, the bass who gives Concerto Italiano such a sure footing. This selection of six of the large-scale pieces from book 8 gives us a chance to hear Carnovich in some of Monteverdi's most demanding solo writing, and it is rare to find a bass voice so clear and focused, especially below the staff. It sounds so effortless that the unevenness in some of the passaggi appears to result from sprezzatura rather than a lack of technical ability. His voice Lacks the power to sustain the military bombast in certain passages, but its sweetness makes him a joy to hear.

Several of the other performers appear to less advantage in this recording, which I suspect was hastily assembled as a by-product of the group's performance at the Ribeauville Festival (,although I prefer to have a hasty recording from musicians of this calibre than none at all). The opening of the recording, in particular, tends to drag, with a particularly slow version of Gira il nemico. Slow tempos and dramatic pauses are often successful when reinforced by eye contact in live performance, but the dramatic effect is lost once the performers are invisible. The recording works best in the dance parts of the ballo Movete al mio bel suon (which I think is a recording premiere) and in a superb version of-Hor che'l ciel. The other works recorded are Altri canti d'Amor, Altri canti di Marte, the Lamento della ninfa for which Montserrat Figueras is unfortunately unable to muster much variety of expression-and two short instrumental sinfonias.

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Title Annotation:La Capella Reial de Catalunya, Jordi Savall, Daniele Carnovich, Montserrat Figueras
Author:Mabbett, Margaret
Publication:Early Music
Article Type:Sound Recording Review
Date:May 1, 1996
Words:313
Previous Article:Monteverdi: Secondo libro de' madrigali a cinque voci.
Next Article:Lamenti barocchi, vol. 1.
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