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Vivaldi: Sacred Music, Vol. 3
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Magnificat - Salve Regina - Concerto "Madrigalesco" - Nisi Dominus - Kyrie - In furore iustissimae irae / Carla Huhtanen & Eve Rachel McLeod, sopranos - Lynne McMurtry & Jennifer Enns Modolo, mezzo-sopranos - Aradia Ensemble - Kevin Mallon, direction
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The performances. 3 stars.
Kevin Mallon conducts the Aradia Ensemble, based in Toronto, Canada delivering pretty standard, competent performances throughout the disc. Nothing controversial about the tempo choices, nothing too spirited. Safe all the way through. The choir performs wonderfully - perfect blend. The orchestra gives charming, detailed performances on each one of the works on the CD. Good, and solid all the way though the disc. The soloists, on the other hand, are another thing altogether. Lynne McMurtry gets through the solos, but you can hear her breathing in places where you shouldn't. She's a fine singer, GREAT tone quality and pitch, but the phrasing seems off. I don't know if that is the fault of the conductor or the engineer, but I suspect the singer is the main culprit here. Breathy performances lend a slightly annoying quality to otherwise good performance from chorus and orchestra. Unfortunately, even though the other two singers seem to gasp less, it is still audible throughout the recording. I wish I could say other elements of the performance make up for this, but just isn't the case. Even though technically perfect, Mallon's interpretations are flat compared to some of the other recorded performances of these works. (Check out the Europeans on the Naïve label. Their Vivaldi Series raises the bar pretty high on what listeners are going to expect from now on.)
Recording: 5 stars.
The engineer captures the sound of the venue perfectly, and you get well detailed reverb, but nothing that keeps you from getting detail and placement. These are equalized to perfection. As far a sound quality goes, this is just about as good as it gets.
Recommend, with slight reservations on the soloists. Singing in a microphone, not something done in most live performances of this kind of music, is an art form in and of itself. Sometimes it takes several takes to get through a solo without sizzling "s" sound, "p" pops, and loud breathing. But when the conductor drags the tempo in Baroque pieces this is what you get.