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Catherine Moore
American Record Guide, March 2013

Although about similar themes of love, longing, the snares of love, hope, and lost love, Caldara’s cantatas are more positive than ones by Vivaldi and Scarlatti. This 3-CD set offers a range of musical approaches to composing on such themes, a rich collection of excellent compositions, and very high quality interpretations. © 2013 American Record Guide Read complete review on American Record Guide

Jonathan Woolf
MusicWeb International, February 2013

This series of Italian cantatas by three eminent contemporaries makes for refined and focused listening.

Cencic…marries virtuosity with colour. The result is singing of great reach and range, in which verbal sensitivity and bravura execution are usually put at the service of the music.

It helps that in Ornamente 99, directed by Karsten Erik Ose, he has personable and instrumentally rich colleagues. The avian flutes in Vivaldi’s O mie porpore più belle offer rich support, and so too does the solo violin in the last aria, in which devotion and panache are allied. Cencic’s instinct for the dramatic is exemplified by Cessate, omai cessate where one finds that he cannily deploys his lower chest voice to generate an almost operatic tension. Elsewhere in these incisive, dramatic Vivaldi cantatas, one finds Cencic’s divisions spot-on, his legato pure and unwavering, and his recitatives excellently paced. Ose allows his obbligato players full rein where needed…He also galvanizes his strings in the stormy Amor, hai vinto, a ‘sea tossed’ cantata ripely encouraging surging string interjections. The strumming sea wash is excellently conveyed.

Domenico Scarlatti was another master of the Italian cantata…The emotive instability of the final aria of Tinte a note di sangue…is excellently realised, without a hint of over-theatricality. Scarlatti gives his vocal soloist plenty of fast divisions to surmount and this means that ensemble with instrumental soloists needs to be at the highest pitch of engagement, which here it is.

Caldara was another supremely gifted writer for the voice and in his Sempre mi torna in mente he ensures that the solo violin interplays with the singer. In fact this whole sonata witnesses a range of obbligato opportunities for expressive instrumental commentary. The accompanying orchestral colours in Non v’è pena provide a rich texture for Cencic…Caldara writes beautifully for bassoon and for the chalumeau, both of which are elegantly played, and provide a wider range of colour.

Throughout these three discs…the performances are exemplary.

The DVD introduces us to the man behind the singer.

If you’re an admirer of singer and repertoire then this box will prove extremely enticing. © 2013 MusicWeb International Read complete review

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