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...Antonio Caldara. This is one of those discs which after the first few listenings I rather unjustly forgot about as a result of a regular flow of new purchases also demanding attention. Back in 2010 when this was released there were still relatively few Caldara recordings knocking about. Before this I think there was the sum total of one oratorio and one disc of cantatas from Mr C in my collection. Fortunately there has been more interest in Caldara recently and a number of other discs have been released in the past few years covering oratorios, sacred music, a requiem, cantatas, serenatas and opera arias (but sadly no full opera that I have seen), which have made me 'rediscover' this recording which I have been playing frequently alongside some of the more recent offerings. Caldara was a chief composer at the Viennese court for 20 years and his prolific operatic output was central to court ceremonial, and this disc is a representative sample of arias from the operas written and performed in those two decades as part of the Emperor and Empress's birthday and name day celebrations as well as the court Carnival festivities.

Countertenor Philippe Jaroussky surely needs no introduction, and his delicacy serves Caldara's refined music well, ably supported by the instruments of Concerto Köln under the direction of Emmanuelle Haïm. The disc comes in a beautifully presented hardback booklet with many colour and black & white reproductions of contemporary paintings and drawings, and an excellent and sizeable essay on "The Sublime Caldara", plus libretti with translations.
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on 4 February 2011
I had to get a CD by this phenomenon having come across Philippe Jaroussky on 'Altus'. This meteor has relatively recently flashed into the firmament and has already reached his apogee. Naturally, he specialises in the 17th and 18thc. repertoire, helping to rehabilitate forgotten masters like Stefano Landi (d.1639) and Antonio Caldara (d.1736). This CD is a selection of arias, for castrati, from the opera of Caldara. They are arranged so that the strident and dramatic alternate with the calm and reflective, enabling us to appreciate the vocal contrasts of which Jaroussky is capable. This amazing virtuoso bounds through the opening aria, displaying tremendous agility in the coloratura sections, dazzling us again with agitato somersaults in arias 6 and 8. Then from aerial flamboyance he can descend to the faintest pianissimo, knowing intuitively how to employ his perfect tremolo (arias 5,7,9).His singing can ascend as high as the lark and sound as sweet. The bright, white voice dissolves into a rainbow of colours - mellifluous (aria 2), melodious (aria 14), majestic (aria 13) with a lilting effect in aria 12. Each performance is respectfully shared by singer and orchestra and concludes with a quiet, pizzicato section, augmented with a choir.This modest and unpretentious end is the perfect complement to the beginning. A booklet, bound into the CD, offers a biography of Caldara and the words of his arias in English, French and German. This is a lesson in how genius and technique, honed by years of dedication, can reach beyond the stratosphere, where it will leave you gasping.
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on 11 June 2015
I am so grateful to Philippe Jaroussky for extending my knowledge of composers and their works. Here is another compilation of items totally unheard of by me, again another hour of beautiful singing and so pleased to have been introduced to this collection.
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on 19 October 2012
If you enjoy the work of the Concerto Koln then this is a must for you as Phillipe Jaroussky is one of the real talents of this genre. However, for myself, I cannot help but feel that Concerto Koln's style is more suited to a more Classical oeuvre and consequently I'm not sure how well their symphonic presentation works with this particular music. Obviously, most representations of baroque and renaissance music are interpretative as we can't know exactly as they would sounded but this just misses the mark for me. Feels like music by Caldara but in the style of Mendelssohn or Haydn. If you're buying this for Concerto Koln, I'd say snap it up but if you want Jaroussky, I think there's far better out there.
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on 10 May 2011
Excellent piece of work. Jaroussky is a brilliant and one of the best counter-tenor singers that I have heard in my life. I will be collecting a lot more of his works. Worth every penny.
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on 12 June 2014
Whilst the historians say that this is a head voice, whilst a castrato used a chest voice, Jaroussky nevertheless can astonish the listener with his range and technique. Perhaps not a disc to listen to by the hour, but hugely enjoyable in smaller doses.
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on 2 February 2014
Bought the cd with AutoRip so i listened to the mp3s it sound good already.
Only bad thing is you do not get the Booklet digital and i like to read everything when listening! Too bad i thought they give the whole download including the booklet!
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on 23 April 2012
I have 4 CDs of Jaroussky and I may never have enough of his performance! Excellent CD, I love it very much. Could recommend to anyone/everyone - it is impossible to be disappointed with such an outstanding music, signer and performance!
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on 8 November 2011
It is one of the most uplifting cd I have. His voice is quite beautiful, and the music is wonderful.
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on 4 April 2013
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