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Canta Venetia! / Maria-luz Alvarez, Lex Eisenhardt

Release Date: 05/29/2007 
Label:  Etcetera Records   Catalog #: 1316   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Domenico ObizziGiovanni Paolo FoscariniGiovanni Pietro BertiFrancesco Corbetta,   ... 
Performer:  Maria-Luz AlvarezLex Eisenhardt
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

CANTA VENETIA! Maria-Luz Alvarez (sop); Lex Eisenhardt (gtr) ETCETERA 1316 (54:00 Text and Translation)


Composers who worked in Venice in Monteverdi’s time make up this program of solo madrigals, arias, and guitar pieces. The unfamiliar names need some introduction. Domenico Obizzi (c. 1611–c. 1629) was a 14-year-old choirboy under Monteverdi when his book of solo Read more madrigals was published; he probably died in the plague. (The composer Julian Scriabin, age 11, died even younger; three of his preludes were recorded a few years ago.) Giovanni Paolo Foscarini (c. 1600–c. 1650) is mentioned only in passing for his introduction of pizzicato, a lute technique, into guitar playing. Giovanni Pietro Berti (c. 1590–1638) was a singer and then second organist from 1624 to 1638 at St. Mark’s. Francesco Corbetta (1615–1681) is also mentioned only in passing as a guitar virtuoso. The blind Martino Pesenti (c. 1600–c. 1648) spent his life serving at aristocratic courts in Venice. Stefano Landi (c. 1586–1639), the most familiar name on the program, was not Venetian but Roman, but the single aria heard here was published in Venice in his Fifth Book of Arias.

While Landi and Corbetta are best represented on records, the others (except Obizzi) can be found on a few scattered collections. Berti can currently be heard only in another recording of “Su, su lieti,” one of the pieces on this disc. The program alternates 10 instrumental selections with 13 vocal works. For a program of almost totally unknown music, this is a valuable overview of the people who surrounded Monteverdi. If he outshone them in his lifetime and outlasted them in subsequent historical evaluation, it is still good to hear such accomplished music. What was that kid Obizzi doing besides learning his lessons in the choir school that he was able to fashion secular songs as skillfully as the six heard here? Certainly not playing video games. Just to make the point more clearly, his songs lead off the program (three of them), the other three scattered among those of his elders, taking a chance that the listener is not paying close attention to the list of contents.

Alvarez has a pleasant voice that she uses with insight. Born in Madrid, she centers her career in the Netherlands, where she works with Eisenhardt. It’s a bold move to offer a disc full of unfamiliar music. Give it a chance. It’s quite remarkable.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Work(s) by Domenico Obizzi
Performer:  Maria-Luz Alvarez (Soprano), Lex Eisenhardt (Guitar)
Work(s) by Giovanni Paolo Foscarini
Performer:  Maria-Luz Alvarez (Soprano), Lex Eisenhardt (Guitar)
Work(s) by Giovanni Pietro Berti
Performer:  Maria-Luz Alvarez (Soprano), Lex Eisenhardt (Guitar)
Work(s) by Francesco Corbetta
Performer:  Maria-Luz Alvarez (Soprano), Lex Eisenhardt (Guitar)
Work(s) by Martino Pesenti
Performer:  Maria-Luz Alvarez (Soprano), Lex Eisenhardt (Guitar)
Work(s) by Stefano Landi
Performer:  Maria-Luz Alvarez (Soprano), Lex Eisenhardt (Guitar)

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