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2007 Early Music CD Awards

2007 Best Handel Recording

Handel. Tamerlano. (HWV 18, London 1724). MDG 1457 (3 CDs, September 2007). George Petrou, Orchestra of Patras (period instruments). Asteria: Mata Katsuli, soprano; Andronico: Mary-Ellen Nesi, mezzo-soprano; Irene: Irini Karagianni, mezzo-soprano; Tamerlano: Nicholas Spanos, countertenor; Bajazet: Tassis Christoyannis, baritone; Leone: Petros Magoulas, bass. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP

This fine new studio recording is the Tamerlano of choice. It features for the first time on a commercial release all the music performed in 1724 with none of Handel's numerous rejected drafts that appear in the HG score, and it includes as an appendix the 1731 scene for Montagnana (not in HG) that previously was recorded by Pinnock. [Continued on the Tamerlano page]

2007 Best 18th Century Italian Opera CD

Antonio Mazzoni (Bologna 1717-1785). Aminta (Il Rè Pastore) (Madrid 1756). K617 201 (2 CDs, May 2007). Complete CD booklet (pdf) | German libretto. Juan Bautista Otero, Real Compañía Ópera de Cámara. Aminta: Anna-Maria Panzarella, soprano; Tamiri: Celine Ricci, soprano; Elisa: Delphine Gillot, soprano; Agenore: Marina Pardo, mezzo-soprano; Alessandro: Leif Aruhn-Solén, tenor. The first complete recording of an opera directed by Farinelli in Madrid. This is my favorite recent recording of an Italian opera. There are many stylistic similarities to music by composers closely associated with Farinelli when he was a performer, i.e., Hasse, Giacomelli & Riccardo Broschi. Tamiri's virtuoso aria "Di tante sue procelle", written for Teresa Castellini (illustrated in the famous portrait by Amigoni with Farinelli and Metastasio), approaches in difficulty Broschi's "Qual guerriero in campo armato". Highly recommended! UK | FR | DE | JP

You already have an aria by Mazzoni if you own the recording of Vivaldi's pasticcio Rosmira fedele, for which he borrowed arias from several "modern" composers, including Mazzoni. For an English translation of the text, see a recording of Mozart's Il Rè Pastore was composed on a different version of the same libretto by Metastasio, such as the libretto from the Teldec recording, with English, French and German translations (pdf).

2007 Best 18th Century French Opera CD

Jean-Féry Rebel (1666-1747). Ulysse (Tragédie en musique, 1703). Musiques à la Chabotterie 605003 (2 CDs, November 2007). Facsimile livret. Hugo Reyne, La Simphonie du Marais & Le Choeur du Marais. Circé: Guillemette Laurens, mezzo-soprano; Pénélope: Stéphanie Révidat, soprano; Ulysse: Betrand Chuberre, baritone; Orphée, un Génie, Euriloque, Mercure & Télémaque: Vincent Lièvre-Picard, haute-contre; Urilas: Bernard Deletré, bass; Céphalie & Pallas: Celine Ricci, soprano; Euphrosine & Junon: Eugénie Warnier, soprano; Un Savage: Thomas van Essen, tenor. Text in French only, unfortunately. Of the many recent premiere recordings of French baroque operas and ballets, this is my favorite. (I haven't heard the recording of Marais's Sémélé yet, as the international edition has not been released.) Ulysse is a lively dramatic work with no dull moments. Highlights include complex string writing seemingly influenced by Corelli, arias that look forward to Rameau, and a trumpet tune reminiscent of the trumpet tune in Campra's Tancrède. The performance and live recording are of very high quality. FR | DE

2007 Best 17th Century Opera/Ballet CD

Jean-Baptiste Lully, Juan Hidalgo, Michel Lambert, Francesco Cavalli. Musiques pour le Mariage de Louis XIV (1660). Details. Accord 442 9894 (2 CDs, October 2007). Hugo Reyne, La Simphonie du Marais. Françoise Masset, soprano; Celine Ricci, soprano; François-Nicolas Geslot, haute-contre; Florian Westphal, bass. Lully ou le Musicien du Soleil, Volume IX. UK | FR | DE | JP

2007 Best 17th Century Oratorio CD

Alessandro Scarlatti. Il Martirio di Sant'Orsola (Rome c.1695-1700). Ligia Digital LiDi 0202176-07 (1 CD, January 2007). Details. Franck-Emmanuel Comte, Le Concert de l'Hostel Dieu. Orsola: Stéphanie Révidat, soprano; Florida: Marina Venant, soprano; Giesù: Jean-Paul Bonnevalle, countertenor; Ereo: François Roche, tenor; Giulio Tiranno: Benoît Arnould, bass. This is one of the finest recordings of a Scarlatti oratorio to date and is my favorite new recording of the year. The difficult trumpet aria for bass "Al suon delle trombe" is skillfully performed by Philippe Genestier. No English translations included. DE | FR

2007 Best 18th Century Oratorio CD

Francesco Bartolomeo Conti (1681-1732). David (1724). Virgin Veritas 3788772 (August 2007). Alan Curtis, Il Complesso Barocco. Micol: Simone Kermes, soprano; Gionata: Birgitte Christensen, soprano; David: Marijana Mijanovic, contralto; Abner: Sonia Prina, contralto; Saul: Furio Zanasi, baritone; Falti: Vito Priante, bass. Review of the performance at the 2003 Festival d'Ambronay. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP

This is an exceptional performance and recording of a composer who clearly deserves more attention. While Conti's long arias separated by minimal recitative reflect 18th Century preferences, many of the themes look back to Scarlatti and Bononcini, as does the high percentage of movements in minor keys.

2007 Best Vocal Concert CD

Porpora & Nicola Fiorenza (c.1700-1764). Notturni per i Defunti. Fuga Libera FUG 526 (1 CD, June 2007). Details. Stefano Demicheli, Dolce & Tempesta, La Stagione Armonica. Monica Piccinini, soprano; Romina Basso, mezzo-soprano. US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP

The vocal notturni by Porpora on this disk reflect the modern style of Neapolitan composers born ~30 years later (e.g., Pergolesi) and could not be confused with arias from Porpora's operas and cantatas from the 1720s or Il Gedeone (1737). They are essentially sacred cantatas, comprised of arias (5 soprano, 4 alto), brief choruses, and accompanied recitative. In addition to fine singing in the Porpora works, this disk features exceptional string playing to the two "sinfonias" by Firenza.

2007 Best Instrumental CD

Roland Marais (c.1680-c.1750), Charles Dollé (18th Century) & Antoine Forqueray (1672-1745). Le Tombeau de Marin Marais. AS Musique ASM003 (1 CD, May 2007). À Deux Violes Esgales. Jonathan Dunford, bass viol; Sylvia Ambramowicz, bass viol; Nanja Breedijk, harp; Daphni Kokkoni, harpsichord. Highly recommended! This superb recording has about the finest sound of any viol recording I have heard. FR

2007 Best Keyboard Music CD

Armand-Louis Couperin (1727-1789). Livre de Pièces de Clavecin. Syrius SYR 141401 (1 CD & duplicate 5-channel CD, May 2007). Philippe Leroy, harpsichord by Anthony Sidey after Ruckers/Hemsch. Highly recommended! This is one of the finest examples of recorded harpsichord sound. UK | FR | DE | JP

2007 Best Early Music Books

Peter Ryom. RV - Antonio Vivaldi. Thematisch-systematisches Verzeichnis seiner Werke (Thematic-systematic Catalogue of His Works). Breitkopf & Härtel 2007. Details with sample pages (pdf). 633 pages. This much expanded new edition of the RV thematic catalogue contains all the known works of Vivaldi with incipits for all movements, along with cross references to other occurrences for each opera aria. An essential reference for Vivaldi enthusiasts. Reviewed by Clifford Bartlett in EMR 121:12-13 (October 2007). DE

Kurt Sven Markstrom. The Operas of Leonardo Vinci, Napolitano. Pendragon Press 2007. Details. Opera Series No. 2. 394 pages. This is an exceptional and fascinating book that combines a biography of Vinci with detailed analysis of his operas and an overview of rapid changes in Italian opera in the 1720s. It is illustrated with contemporaneous caricatures of singers and composers, including a Ghezzi sketch of Vinci (apparently) towering over a diminutive Faustina Bordoni (p. 100). (Vinci had a reputation not unlike Stradella's and like Stradella may have been murdered.) The numerous musical examples include Handel borrowings such as the theme of "O God-like Youth" in Saul (p. 150) and arias in Vinci's Farnace (Rome 1724) influenced by Vivaldi including an aria for saltiero (p. 72), an instrument for which Vivaldi also composed an aria during the same season (Giustino, Rome 1724). US | UK | FR | DE | CA | JP


2006 Early Music CD Awards

2005 Early Music CD Awards

2004 Early Music CD Awards

Keywords: Récompenses classiques disques grand prix musique

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