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Il Canto Delle Dame / Maria Cristina Kiehr, Concerto Soave

Kiehr,Maria Cristina / Concerto Saove / Aymes
Release Date: 12/14/2010 
Label:  Ambronay   Catalog #: 25   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Caterina AssandraGiovanni Pietro del BuonoFrancesca CacciniIsabella Leonarda,   ... 
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



IL CANTO DELLE DAME Jean-Marc Aymes, cond; Maria Christina Kiehr (sop); Concerto Soave (period instruments) AMBRONAY AMY025 (64:47 Text and Translation)


ASSANDRA Duo Seraphim. Canzon a 4. O quam suavis. O Salutaris hostia. CACCINI Chi è costei. Maria, dolce Maria. Io mi distruggo. Lasciatemi qui solo. DEL BUONO Canone sopra Read more l’Ave Maris Stella. LEONARDA Ave suavis dilectio. Sonata VII a 3. STROZZI Serenata Hor ch’Apollo


This recording by Concerto Soave, a group of six performers who focus on music of the early 17th century, gives a series of pieces by some of the most recognized and perhaps innovative women of their time. At least two of the composers were from artistic families: Francesca Caccini (1587–1640) was the daughter of a leading composer, and Barbara Strozzi (1619–c.1664) was the daughter of a major poet of the time. The former was well known as a singer at the Medici court and indeed wrote a significant number of works, including operas. The latter was so well educated and talented that she was called “the ultimate virtuoso singer” ( virtuosissima cantatrice ) and admitted into the Accademia degli Unisoni, one of the leading artistic collegia of the time. The other two, Isabella Leonarda (1620–1704) and Caterina Assandra (fl.1609–18), were both nuns, but the former was renowned as “the Novara Muse” throughout Europe and the latter a disciple of Benedetto Rè of Pavia. Among the four, they composed several hundred works, the bulk of which was regarded in musical circles as equal to the work of the best musicians of the period. The only lost soul is Giovanni Pietro del Buono, a composer from the Vatican about whom we know very little. None of these composers is exactly unknown to the world of recording, although sometimes the labels can be nearly unobtainable. Nella Anfuso recorded a flight of Caccini’s songs in 2007 on Stilnuovo, while Leonarda’s music appears on Tactus with the Novara Ensemble, and Strozzi is on numerous labels, such as Amon Ra. Even Assandra’s Duo Seraphim had appeared before on Tactus, so this group has not chosen to present premieres exclusively.


The 12 works are mostly motets, but given that rubric, they vary according to the time written. For example, Caccini’s four works are all drawn from the Primo Libro delle Musiche published in Florence in 1618. One can discern the lyrical lines and fluid ornamentation of her father, Giulio Caccini, in the sonnet Chi è costei with its block accompaniment of organ and theorbo. Maria, dolci Maria , however, seems a bit more primitive, almost a throwback to the declamatory style of two decades earlier; indeed, it seems as if this Marian hymn is a product of her youth, as does the plaintive Lasciatemi qui solo accompanied by a soft lute; the dying away of the text “lasciatemi morir” is poignant beyond belief. My only peeve is the arrangement of Io mi distruggo as a harpsichord solo. It contributes nothing to the set save as a brief, unmemorable diversion; I’d far rather have had the vocal version. But one can find it elsewhere, such as Shannon Mercer’s recording on Analekta of the entire madrigal. Of the other instrumental works, Leonarda’s 1693 sonata is filled with rich timbres, with the continuo and two violins eliciting the thematic contrasts in all three voices. We are in the world of Corelli and Stradella here. Assandra’s Canzon a 4 , an homage to her teacher, seems extremely modern for 1608, perhaps because the continuo keyboard seems to be understated, the organ blending so well that it goes by almost unnoticed. Finally, the del Buono canon fits in quite well, but musically seems the weakest piece of the bunch.


The performance by Concerto Soave is uniformly excellent, done with control of the ornaments, good phrasing to bring out the affect of the texts, and with a blend that demonstrates the integrated, intimate quality of the works. Soprano Maria Kiehr is always right on target with her pitch and interpretation, bringing out the delightful nuances of the works. I particularly like her stentorian calls imitating the trumpet-like strings in Assandra’s O Salutaris hostia. The two violinists are nicely matched, and the various combinations of the continuo are played with subtlety and verve. My advice is to buy this disc as a necessary part of your Baroque collection.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Motetti, Op. 2: Duo seraphim by Caterina Assandra
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1609; Italy 
2.
Canzon a 4 (di benedetto rè) by Caterina Assandra
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
3.
O quam suavis by Caterina Assandra
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
4.
O salutaris hostia by Caterina Assandra
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
5.
Canone sopra l’ave Maris stella by Giovanni Pietro del Buono
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
6.
Chi è costei, Maria, dolce Maria by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
7.
Lo mi distruggo by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
8.
Lasciatemi qui solo by Francesca Caccini
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
9.
Motets (12), Op. 6: no 5, Ave, suavis dilectio by Isabella Leonarda
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1676; Italy 
10.
Arie a voce sola, Op. 8: Hor che Apollo "Serenata" by Barbara Strozzi
Performer:  Maria Cristina Kiehr (Soprano)
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Venice, Italy 
11.
Sonatas (12), Op. 16: no 7 by Isabella Leonarda
Conductor:  Jean-Marc Aymes
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Soave
Period: Baroque 

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