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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the vividest early Baroque recordings available,
"Ut pictura musica", says the cover, "music is like painting", and indeed few recordings of seventeenth century music are as vivid and colourful as this one. Stefano Landi (c.1586-1639) was a composer at the court of the Pope in Rome and this collection contains fourteen of his short vocal and instrumental pieces. Some music lovers might be familiar with his rather introspective opera "Il Sant'Alessio" and a few movements from that work appear on this disc. But what's striking about the pieces here is their incredible rhythmic and melodic verve, making the music sound like a cross between Latin American folk music and Monteverdi. This is particularly true of the opening track, an anonymous tarantella (the only track not by Landi) whose infectious energy seems to belie the fact that the words are about the inescapibilty of human mortality until you realize it is a dance of death. Other pieces are no less evocative: 'Augellin' depicts a bird soaring in the sky with its upward sweeping melody and spacious accompaniment; 'Canta la cicaleta' is a delicate and charming portrait of a little cicada singing as it dies. Other pieces sound more like Monteverdi in the aristocratic elegance of their melodic lines, 'A che piu l'arco tendere' for instance. 'Quando Rinaldo' is almost a four-minute opera on the favourite Baroque theme of Tasso's Armida and Rinaldo. Other pieces are more madrigalesque while many have catchy rhythms that suggest twentieth century pop music more than anything else: the 'walking bassline' in the final track, 'Amarilli, deh! vieni' looks forward to blues or even funk. The music is given excellent advocacy by L'Arpeggiata. The accompaniment, with its wonderful array of stringed instruments and its mixture of subtlety and elan, is the best I have ever heard on a recording of music of this period. Fans of early Italian Baroque should not hesitate to buy this disc. For newcomers, this is the ideal place to start exploring the music of the period and maybe the beginning of a love affair.
20 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, almost addictive music,
I heard one track of this CD on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction and felt I had to have it. I was not disappointed. The songs are beautifully simple in presentation and yet complex in melody, and almost hypnotic. Try Augelin for example and see if it is not still in your mind hours later!
A lot of early music is dismissed by non-addicts as "churchy", but this certainly is not, even though Landi was a musician to Maffeo Barberini, who was Pope. These are love songs in the main, sung to the accompaniment of Baroque Harp, Guitar and Theorbo. Recorded live in a chapel where the accoustics are all that could be desired, the CD could not be improved on!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Landi,
Having other L'Arpeggiata recordings, I decided to play the samples for this album. I didn't have to go beyond the second track (Augelin) to know it was for me. The whole set is beautifully recorded, and result is almost hypnotic.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Atmospheric brilliance,
This is an extraordinarily pleasant album, full of great singing and playing. The recording is particularly good, providing a powerfully "realistic" atmosphere, giving the listener the sense almost of being there. Highly recommended.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece,
By A Customer
This is such a fine recording, ushering the listener into the secret emotional world of the papal chorister Landi. However, it is also performed in a way that makes the musical idioms of early 17th century Rome somehow very familiar. That's to the immense credit of this ensemble, which has evidently thought long and hard about how to perform these works, then done so with a rare intensity. It's like listening to the best possible pop music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Audiophile quality recording and tremendous fun with it,
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Very often music from this era attracts sterile performances that make you wonder why anyone ever listened to it in the first place - not so with these artists. Not only is the quality of the music outstanding, the reproduction is absolutely outstanding and with a good system this CD will make your hair stand on end. Fantastic performance.
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