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Vivaldi, Albinoni, Porta et al.: Andromeda liberata /Venice Baroque Orchestra · Marcon

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  • Performer: Max Emanuel Cencic, Simone Kermes, Katerina Beranova, Anna Bonitatibus, Mark Tucker
  • Orchestra: Venice Baroque Orchestra, La Stagione Armonica
  • Conductor: Andrea Marcon
  • Composer: Antonio Vivaldi
  • Audio CD (11 Aug. 2010)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Archiv
  • ASIN: B000632PE0
  • Other Editions: MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 313,634 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
  • Sample this album Artist - Artist (Sample)
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Product Description

MARCON ANDREA / VENICE BAROQUE

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Format: Audio CD
This is in many ways an outstanding recording! The parts Andromeda (Simone Kermes), Perseus (Max E. Cencic), Cassiope (Katerina Beranova), Meliso (Anna Bonitatibus)and Daliso (Mark Tucker) are sung with understanding and fire. Andrea Marcon leads the Venice Baroque Orchestra from the harpsichord. The recitatives are secco, that is with cello, theorbe and harpsichord. I don't know whether the recitatives have been cut somewhat - they are shortish.

This pasticcio was composed in honor of the return of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni (1667-1740). There had been diplomatic tribulations between the Vatican and Venice for years following the War of Spanish succession. Venice and Rome were torn between the Habsburgs and the Bourbons. When the Vatican came on better terms with the Emperor (Ottoboni had been one of the first to shift his alliance to France with the rise of Louis XIV's power) and Venice came on better terms with France from 1723 when Languet became ambassador this was a major political occasion where one would expect festive music, like this serenata.

It was probably this French ambassador who commissioned Antonio Vivaldi to compose La Senna festeggiante three years before Andromeda was composed. La Senna is also a serenata, just like Andromeda. Comparing the two works is difficult in many ways, but one of the most striking things is the instrumentation. Andromeda liberata has horns and timpani in addition. The horns and the timpani are playing mostly in the choruses and the sinfionias.

One "aria de bravura" is Andromeda's "Lo so, barbari fati", which opens the second part, has horns and timnpani playing to tremendous effect. One particular highligt is Andromeda's opening aria in the first part, "Un occhio amabile".
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Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Although I haven't bought this yet(I have ordered it though)and I ordered it because some nice person has posted it(complete) on YouTube,here:~[...]
which might give you guys who have doubts the impetus to buy it.
Once I have received my order,and listened a couple of times,I shall come back and further review it.However,I don't think I can improve on Morten Fuglestad's excellent review.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x9d3797d4) out of 5 stars 9 reviews
25 of 26 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d39e240) out of 5 stars Andromeda Triumphans 29 Nov. 2004
By James B. Brinton - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The recently discovered "Andromeda Liberata" may or may not be by Vivaldi--let the musicologists fight it out--but either way, it deserves to be heard, and heard as performed by this group on this recording. Without them, this beautiful music would have gone unperformed.

I had the pleasure of being in Boston's Jordan Hall for the first North American performance of "Andromeda" (November 27, 2004) and the Venice Baroque Orchestra was better than great! Richard Dyer, the hard-to-please music critic of the Boston Globe called it "... the early-music event of the season, a triumph for the work and the performers, and the audience applauded and shouted." Yes, we did; we also whistled and stamped.

This recording captures that performance vividly. The singing is exceptional. The two leads, Andromeda and Perseus, are sung by Simone Kermes and Max Cencic. Both are less well known in the United States than they should be, but this recording and their US tour will help repair that. Both are highly skilled in the baroque tradition and their vocal embellishments raise this performance to another level. As lovers of baroque opera know too well, it is one thing to embellish, but another to do it with art and taste. Simone and Max are exquisite vocalists. Both singers brought the house down more than once in the Boston performance--hear why on this recording.

Among many things to notice: the Vivaldi-esque interplay of woodwinds and lutes; at times it is chillingly beautiful. Both oboists and lutenists play original instruments and the sound is mellow and lush. Critic Dyer called the lute work by Ivano Zanenghi and Evangelina Mascardi "ravishing," and I think he understated it. But, in fact the whole Orchestra plays beautifully.

After the performance over drinks (tea for the vocalists) Julian Fifer (the manager of the group and founder of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra) and Andrea Marcon (the conductor) told us the back story. Apparently the Venice Baroque was on a bus in Japan and on the same bus was the discoverer of this lost masterpiece, Olivier Foures. He just happened (!) to have the score with him; Fifer and Marcon looked it over and decided on the spot that this was music that needed to be heard.

Apparently the label was hesitant to record it inasmuch as it had not been authenticated (it still hasn't been), and recordings like this are costly to produce; but Fifer and Marcon twisted arms and triumphed in the end. The result is here to be heard.

My only regret about this CD set is that you will not be able to hear alto Marijana Mijanovic, (now referred to in Boston as "La Eleganza") who sang with amazing intensity and eloquent decoration, and whose low register was like shining, dark chocolate. Unfortunately she was not one of the original cast, but that, friends, is one more reason to support live performances.

So who wrote Andromeda? There is diverse evidence, and a seeming variety of compositional mannerisms on display. To cite an extreme example, there is a very noticeable decorative figure at the opening of Andromeda that sounds as if were lifted out of the French baroque of Charpentier or Lully.

Not likely. Vivaldi was nine when Lully died in 1687, and while Charpentier lasted until 1704, Andromeda dates from 1726.

So one can be misled by mannerism, and like much of the evidence that Vivaldi didn't write Andromeda, the meaning of this figuration is ambiguous. In the end, according to Fifer, it turns out to be a musical pun on the name of the man in whose honor Andromeda was composed, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni.

Personally, I think Vivaldi did write "Andromeda," or at least most of it, but it hardly matters. This is glorious music performed by a committed group of informed and eloquent musicians. Revel in it.
11 of 14 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d39ec30) out of 5 stars A Wonderful Serenata by Vivaldi (?) 20 Jan. 2005
By Chris Protopapas - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Whether "Andromeda Liberata" is indeed a work of Vivaldi's is impossible to

confirm, but it is a remarkable piece of music. The overture is in the

French style, which is unusual for an Italian work, and there are many other

highly original touches throughout. The music is almost uniformly beautiful,

but ironically, the most convincing argument against this being a work of

Vivaldi's is the one aria that is indisputably his, Perseo's "Sovvente il

Sole". It is simply on a whole other level than anything else in the

Serenata, a hauntingly beautiful and emotional piece that left me stunned

when I first heard it at the Venice Baroque Orchestra's performance in New

York's Zankel Hall. It is worth the price of the CD.

-

The singers are all very fine, especially the soprano Katerina Beranova. The

New York performance also featured the mezzosoprano Marijana Mijanovic, who

is not on the recording. Let me just say that her very fine portayal of

Giulio Cesare on the Minkowski recording of that work did not prepare me for

the quality of her voice; some things just need to be heard live to be

believed. But even without her, this recording is highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d39e6cc) out of 5 stars Delightful perfection 24 May 2006
By Scoglio - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
Everything --- music, conductor, orchestra and soloists --- converge harmoniously to make this an exceptionally beautiful performance, to return to again and again. The naturalness, the effortlessness, and the joyfulness of this production are inescapable. Contrary to the dramatic subject matter, the most beautiful numbers have a golden, lambent quality ('Con dolce mormorio' in the Second Part) that made me think of the gentle murmur of bees among flowers. The singers are wonderfully selected for contrasting timbres, but all have consistent musicality. The leads, soprano Kermes and the counter tenor Cencic, are especially delightful in their duet. A pleasure in every way, regardless of who composed this music.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d3a7084) out of 5 stars Max Cencic and Simone Kermes in a terrific baroque performance. 6 Nov. 2014
By Abert - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD
A serenata, or "serenade", a genre between a cantata and an opera performed in the evening hours for an occasion. The authorship of ‘Andromeda liberata’ is quite obscure. Probably not entirely the work of Antonio Vivaldi, but the aria "Sovvente il sole" is established to be his. The composer(s) of the rest cannot be ascertained. The opening sinfonia does not sound overtly Vivaldian. So it is possible that the serenata might have been a pasticcio. In the liner notes, a case is made for both possibilities, but inclusively.
The plot comes from Greek mythology. Andromeda is the daughter of Cassiopeia, and has been freed by Perseus from the rock where she has been chained. Cassopeia has promised Andromeda to Perseus as a reward. For her part, Andromeda is grateful, but she initially refuses Perseus because she is in love with Daliso. In time, however, she learns that Daliso is incapable of love, and she willingly accepts Perseus, thereby allowing the serenata to end with rejoicing. It appears that ‘Andromeda liberata’ was composed for a happy event. A case has it that it marks the return of the exiled Cardinal Ottoboni to his native Venice.
This recording follows from a series of live performances of this work in North America in 2004. The role of Perseo was sung by Croatian countertenor Max Emanuel Cencic during those sessions, as well as in this recording. Certainly, the aria by Vivaldi "Sovvente il sole" for Perseo in the second half is the focal solo piece of this work. It is one of those ‘Vivaldi favourite’ arias. Full of melancholy fluency, it was recorded as a solo piece by famous singers prior to this recording such as Philippe Jaroussky (who, however, has sung it in a transposed higher key), and subsequently by Nathalie Stutzmann, and many other illustrious mezzos (Bartoli included, of course). Cencic sings it here in the original and lower key.
The rest of the score of Andromeda liberata’ is diverse in style, for though somewhat Vivaldian, some of the choral writing sounds more characteristic of Handel, only if sparingly. Vivaldi's ornate writing for solo voices is much in evidence in solo arias such as the ones of Perseo, but the final duet sounds Handelian: compare it with the duet ‘Caro, cara’ from Handel’s ‘Teseo’.
Impressive singing abounds in this CD apart from male mezzo-sopranist (countertenor) Max Emanuel Cencic, who sings in gorgeous tone throughout. Listeners often compare Cencic’s rendition of "Sovvente il sole" with that of Jaroussky’s. There is actually no direct comparison, since the two singers sing in different keys. The colour and character of their performances differ significantly as a result of this.
The performances here are all as authentic and stylish as one could wish for. Indeed, all other singers get their chances to shine. Marcon, with an exclusive contract with Archiv, partnered star baroque soprano Simone Kermes in a number of subsequent recordings.
As one critic has it, this première recording is not likely to be bettered anytime soon, if at all.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9d3a7234) out of 5 stars Andromeda Liberata: Music by Vivaldi and Others 14 Feb. 2013
By G. Kames - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I am very pleased with this worthy serenata, and have been in love with the aria 'sovvente il sole' since I first heard it on a library CD entitled "Heroes". It featured Philippe Jaroussky singing selected arias by the composer, Vivaldi. I waited in a hold queue for a long time, but it eventually was made available to me. I have my notes taken in November, 2011, naming this aria as one of my favorites of all time, along with the text in Italian and English. I read the interesting booklet that accompanied this CD, and I am heartily grateful to everyone that worked so diligently on the origin of the work. But there has never been any doubt as to the authenticity of this beautiful aria. Now I am very pleased to have the entire work in my personal library, thanks to Amazon.

Just as I did with the operas from the library, I schedule a number of "performances" in my home reading the libretto in English and reciting the Italian, so it is important to have a complete libretto (I do not know Italian that well yet). I only work with CD's. Insodoing, I familiarize myself with the music completely. And each perusal is a creative endeavor as well. It is also a means of relaxation, when I am at my best. And when I complete the run of "performances" I replace the booklet in the container and keep the CD forever, cherishing it and availing myself to it when I want to enjoy the music therein.

The audio CD came just in time since I wanted to schedule this work for mid-Februay - March to follow "Scipione", which I am just completing. I have been following a theme for my operas which must pertain to some hero, either mythological or historical, which I began in 2012. As you can probably guess, the hero for this work is Perseus.
All the operas have all enriched my life more than anything else could have done. And they make life in a difficult world so much easier to bear.

I had a hold on this same CD from the Performing Arts Library, but when the package arrived, I joyfully cancelled it.

G. Kames
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