WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Francesca Caccini: Sacred & Secular Songs / Fedi, Lastraioli

Caccini / Fedi / Cappella Di Santa Maria Degli
Release Date: 04/30/2013 
Label:  Brilliant Classics   Catalog #: 94461   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Elena Cecchi Fedi delivers outstanding performances of the vocal parts.

Being the child of a famous father can be quite a burden, in particular when father and child have the same occupation. The Bach sons knew all about it. It can also be a blessing, though. That was certainly the case with the two most famous female composers of 17th-century Italy, Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini. The latter was the daughter of Giulio Caccini who with his compositions and in his writings expressed a new approach to music in which the text was at the centre and should be depicted in the music. Francesca received an outstanding education, including poetry and music. She wrote poems in Italian and Latin and was able to sing and to
Read more play various instruments, among them the harpsichord and the guitar.
 
She was also educated in composition which resulted in her writing operas; she was responsible for the first opera in history from the pen of a woman. Unfortunately it appears that only one specimen of this part of her oeuvre has been preserved. Otherwise just one collection of music has come down to us, printed in 1618 and including 32 solo pieces and four duets for soprano and bass, all with basso continuo. Some have a spiritual content, others are secular. The forms are different: there are strophic pieces but also pure monodies, often in various parts, in which the performer has to follow the rhythm of the text. As Francesca regularly performed as a singer it seems likely that she wrote these pieces for her own performances in the first place. She may have accompanied herself at the keyboard, the harp or the guitar. The choice of the basso continuo instrument(s) is not indicated, except in a small number of pieces with the addition "canzonetta per cantare sopra la chitarra spagnola". Two of them are on this disc: Ch'Amor sia nudo and Chi desia di saper. It is rather odd that in both pieces other instruments also participate in the basso continuo.
 
In these performances the interpreters take a considerable amount of freedom anyway. It is not made clear on which historical sources these practices are based. Among them is the playing of ritornellos, often with participation of the violin and sometimes also percussion. Only in one piece performed here does the score include a ritornello with the indication that this could be repeated after every stanza ( O che nuovo stupor). There is no material for a ritornello in Se muove a giurar fede, but the performance starts with an instrumental introduction which lasts almost two minutes. At some points the violin even plays colla parte with the voice, again something which is not required in the score.
 
Another feature raises questions: S'io me'n vo and O vive rose are both duets for soprano and bass. The low voice is probably played by the viola da gamba, but that is hard to say, even if one follows the music from the score. That is an indication that this 'solution' is rather unsatisfying.
 
Although I would have liked the artists to stick to the score, there is much to admire here. Elena Cecchi Fedi delivers outstanding performances of the vocal parts. She deals impressively with the many melismatic passages and the ornamentation which is required. She makes use of the technique of the messa di voce without exaggeration, and pays much attention to the text. Whether she succeeds in expressing the words is hard to say as the booklet includes the lyrics but omits English translations. One of the most expressive pieces is Lasciatemi qui solo which is in a truly monodic style; Ms Fedi observes the rhythmic freedom which this piece needs. The instrumentalists play well; they are on their own in the two instrumental pieces, Ciaccona and Romancesca. Francesca Caccini didn't compose any instrumental works, therefore these are probably instrumental versions of vocal items. The booklet doesn't give any information about this issue, and I have not been able to identify them.
 
Apart from the liberties in the interpretation the lack of information about the music and performance practice as well as the omission of translations are serious minuses. It should not however dissuade you from investigating it. In 2010 I reviewed another disc with pieces by Francesca Caccini. Some pieces appear on both discs, but fortunately about half of the programme is different. If you like this kind of music, there are good reasons to add this disc to your collection.
 
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Ch'Amor sia nudo by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
2.
Io veggio i campi verdeggiar fecondi by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
3.
O che nuovo stupor by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
Period: Baroque 
4.
Ciaccona by Francesca Caccini
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
5.
Dov'io credea by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
6.
O chiome belle by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
7.
Maria, dolce Maria by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Italy 
8.
Romanesca by Francesca Caccini
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
9.
Non sò se quel sorriso by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
10.
Dispiegate guancie amate by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
Period: Baroque 
11.
Se muove a giurar fede by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
12.
Lasciatemi qui solo by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
13.
S'io men vò by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
14.
O vive rose by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini
15.
Chi desia di saper by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Elena Cecchi Fedi (Soprano)
Conductor:  Gian Luca Lastraioli
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini

Sound Samples

Il primo libro delle musiche: Ch'Amor sia nudo
Il primo libro delle musiche: Io veggio i campi
Il primo libro delle musiche: O che nuovo stupor
Il primo libro delle musiche: Che t'ho fatt'io
Ciaccona
Il primo libro delle musiche: Dov'io credea le mie speranze vere
Il primo libro delle musiche: O chiome belle
Il primo libro delle musiche: Maria, dolce Maria
Romanesca
Il primo libro delle musiche: Non so se quel sorriso
Il primo libro delle musiche: Dispiegate, guance amate
Il primo libro delle musiche: Se muove a giurar fede
Il primo libro delle musiche: Lasciatemi qui solo
Il primo libro delle musiche: S'io men vo
Il primo libro delle musiche: O vive rose
Il primo libro delle musiche: Chi desia di saper

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN - TRY IT FREE!
Listen to all your favorite classical music for only $20/month.
Sign up for your monthly subscription service and get unlimited access to the most comprehensive digital catalog of classical music in the world - new releases. bestsellers, advanced releases and more.
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In