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Italian Songbook / Cecilia Bartoli


Release Date: 03/03/2009 
Label:  Decca   Catalog #: 001266102   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Gioachino RossiniVincenzo BelliniGaetano Donizetti
Performer:  James LevineCecilia Bartoli
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

The transforming power of imagination is rarely shown so clearly. On record and in recital these songs and their like have so often appeared as tepid little exercises, cautious investigations of the voice, the acoustic, the audience. And oh, you think, pity the pianist, with those doodling arpeggios and beginner’s chords! Pity us, too, who have to pin all hopes on melody, for other kinds of interest – harmonic, rhythmic, contrapuntal – are stunted indeed. But now, behold, they burgeon. Life abundant lies within the vocal line, and even the silly old accompaniments sound well.

Such is the effect of the Bartoli-Levine combination. Of course this can not be more than a hunch (for direct comparisons with early performances by
Read more the singer are not at hand) but from the very first bars it feels that something special among Bartoli’s many fine recordings have come into being here with these two distinguished artists in association. Comparisons of another kind do present themselves. Three of the items in the programme occur also in a recent recording, similar in its contents, by Eva Mei and Fabio Bidini. Introducing Vaga luna, Levine establishes a sense of movement, flexible and responsive to mood; the voice then, thoughtful and private, warms with “fervido desir” and has within it a passion (however subdued) to colour “i palpiti e i sospir”. And so forth. The Mei-Bidini performance is by comparison a non-event. Then in Il barcaiolo how boldly and rightly Bartoli and Levine ride the tempo, when the others simply, so to speak, sit on it. In Ah, rammenta, o bella Irene the tone deepens with “O Dio, m’avanza”, and the delicately introduced song ends with an uninhibited brilliance where the other performers make a merely dutiful progression.

Among the less familiar items, Bellini’s Torna, vezzosa Fillide may come as the most engaging discovery. Rossini’s miniature Requiem for his mother-in-law seems not to be a joke, whereas the Aragonese (a setting in the style of Aragon of Mi lagnero tacendo) surely must be. The booklet has nothing to say about it. I suppose there might have been something to say here and now about intrusive ‘h’s and that other intrusion, a breathy quality sometimes cultivated in (presumably) the interests of expression or intimacy, but they are not gross or prohibitive features of the singing here, and the lovely voice and lively art make ample amends.

– Gramophone [11/1997]
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Works on This Recording

1.
Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 11 "Miscellanée de musique vocale": no 6, Aragonese by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  James Levine (Piano), Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 3 Minutes 30 Secs. 
2.
Vaga luna che inargenti by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
3.
Il barcajuolo by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  James Levine (Piano), Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 47 Secs. 
4.
Ah, rammenta, o bella Irene by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1830-1831; Milan, Italy 
Length: 5 Minutes 38 Secs. 
5.
L'abbandano by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 16 Secs. 
6.
La passeggiata by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1831; Italy 
Length: 4 Minutes 2 Secs. 
7.
Ariette (6) da camera: no 1, Malinconia, ninfa gentile by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 1 Minutes 16 Secs. 
8.
Amore e morte by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  James Levine (Piano), Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
9.
Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 1 "Album italiano": no 3, Bolero by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 3 Minutes 31 Secs. 
10.
La conocchia by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 19 Secs. 
11.
Il fervido desiderio by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 34 Secs. 
12.
Torna, vezzosa Fillide by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  James Levine (Piano), Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 7 Minutes 53 Secs. 
13.
Ariette (6) da camera: no 2, Vanne, o rosa fortunata by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 6 Secs. 
14.
Dolente immagine di Fille mia by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1824; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 15 Secs. 
15.
La farfalletta by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: ?1813; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 1 Secs. 
16.
Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 11: no 4, A ma belle mère in A major "Requiem aeternam" by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 2 Minutes 58 Secs. 
17.
Ariette (6) da camera: no 5, Per pietà, bell'idol mio by Vincenzo Bellini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1829; Italy 
Length: 2 Minutes 3 Secs. 
18.
Soirées d’automne à l’Infrascata: no 4, Me voglio fa' na casa "Amor marinaro" by Gaetano Donizetti
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Length: 2 Minutes 12 Secs. 
19.
Péchés de vieillesse, Volume 3 "Morceaux réservés": no 2, L'Esule by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Length: 4 Minutes 13 Secs. 
20.
Les soirées musicales: no 8, La danza by Gioachino Rossini
Performer:  Cecilia Bartoli (Soprano), James Levine (Piano)
Period: Romantic 
Written: circa 1830-1835; Italy 
Length: 3 Minutes 8 Secs. 

Sound Samples

Aragonese
Vaga luna che inargenti
Il barcaiolo
Ah! rammenta, o bella Irene
L'Abbandono
Or che di fiori adorno
Malinconia, ninfa gentile
Amore e morte
Bolero
La conocchia
Il fervido desiderio
Torna, vezzosa Fillide
Vanne, o rosa fortunata
Dolente immagine di Fille mia
La farfalletta
A ma belle mere
Per pieta, bell'idol mio
Me voglio fa'na casa
L'Esule
La Danza

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Superlative performances August 20, 2013 By Stephen Schoeman (Westfield, NJ) See All My Reviews "There are two superlative performances on this wonderful CD. That of Cecilia Bartoli who sings bel canto arias not generally well known. That of maestro James Levine who accompanies her on the piano. This marvelous pairing of great artists is a joy to hear. Theirs is a flawless presentation. Mr. Levine always manages just the right touch, always in step with Ms. Bartoli, a forte when required, a pianissimo when required. This is a true duet and not a duel! And then there is the sheer joy of hearing arias of Bellini, Rossini, and Donizetti. It doesn't get better than this! How could it? Stephen Schoeman, Ph. D." Report Abuse
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