This is a hybrid Super Audio CD playable on both regular and Super Audio CD players.
R E V I E W:
"Giulio Caccini (1551–1618) comes into the category of being one of those composers who is more written about than heard. To the average music-lover and all singers, he is known as the composer of one song in particular, Amarilli mia bella, which appears in just about every collection of “arie antiche” ever published. To the more historically minded, Caccini is known as one of the leading lights at the Florentine meetings of theorists and musicians known as the Camerata, the developers and eventual creators of opera. Yet few are likely to know more than a handful of his songs, which not only had great importanceRead more in the development of the solo song, but also played a major role in laying the foundations for the whole of the Baroque ethos. Although a number of them have appeared over the years on recitals, this is the most comprehensive collection to have appeared on one disc, so far as I’m aware.
The songs were published in two collections entitled Le nuove musiche, the very title of which illustrates Caccini’s desire to claim the “new music” as his own. Following the precepts of the Camerata to create a form that eschewed polyphony in favor of monodic song in which a declamatory style was united with a flexible approach to rhythm and tempo, Caccini sought, in his own words, a vocal line that would “speak in tones,” and consequently “move the affect of the soul.” The fact that Caccini only partly achieved his ambition to create a parlando style of song can be attributed to the fact that he was an innate lyricist, the melodic distinction that made Amarilli such an evergreen being by no means unique. The publication of the first book in 1602, was followed by a second in 1614 that includes not only a valuable preface suggesting how the songs should be sung, but also fully written-out ornamentation, a reaction to the composer’s dissatisfaction with the manner in which the songs were performed by others.
For her selection, Johannette Zomer has dipped almost equally into the two books, choosing seven songs from the 1602 collection and eight from that of 1614, information that should have been given in the booklet. Zomer is a near ideal singer for this repertoire, being the possessor of a beautifully clear and fresh soprano, here used with considerable intelligence. She clearly recognizes that these songs are a form of musica reservata dependent on the subtle use of Caccini’s sprezzatura (or flexibility) more than the employment of exaggerated affetti. Thus, in a song like Vaga su spin’ascosa she draws the listener into a web of seductive intimacy as surely as she can evoke the lonely night of the soul in Tutto’l dí piango, a splendid setting of a darkly passionate sonnet by Petrarch. She’s particularly good with the lighter songs, too, capturing the charming innocence of Al fonte, al prato to perfection. Ornamentation is executed with a graceful ease of technique, although I would have liked more of it in some of the 1602 songs.
Fred Jacobs supports Zomer with some fine theorbo playing in his continuo role, while on his own account contributing a group of nicely varied solo pieces by Caccini’s contemporary Alessandro Piccinini (1566–c. 1638)."
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