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Cataldo Amodei: Songs; Zamboni, Storace / Kirkby, Lindberg


Release Date: 04/27/2004 
Label:  Bis   Catalog #: 1415   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Cataldo AmodeiGiovanni ZamboniBernardo Storace
Performer:  Jakob LindbergLars Ulrik MortensenEmma Kirkby
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

How typical of Emma Kirkby that, in what must be the autumn of a long and distinguished career, she should still be seeking out new repertoire to perform and record. Cataldo Amodei is a name unlikely to spring readily to the lips of even the most informed of Baroque specialist, yet he was an important figure in the teeming musical life of late 17th-century Naples. Like Alessandro Scarlatti, Amodei was a Sicilian, born on May 6, 1649, in the southern town of Sciacca. From there he went to Naples, where he completed his musical training and entered the priesthood. Amodei was to remain in Naples until the end of his short life, serving as choirmaster at the church of S Paolo Maggiore, and later in two of the city’s important conservatoires, S Read more Onofrio and S Maria di Loreto, the latter a post in which Scarlatti succeeded him. It seems probable that Amodei suffered from poor health, since he resigned both posts pleading pressure of work, dying at the age of forty-four on July 13, 1693.

Amodei’s extant list of works is small. A collection of motets for between two and five voices, published in 1679 as op. 1 with a dedication to the Emperor Leopold of Austria, survives in only fragmentary state, leaving what until recently was the composer’s sole major legacy, his op. 2, a collection of cantatas for solo voice, and the source for the program of the present disc. However, the notes tantalizingly refer to the recent discovery of “some magnificent pieces of sacred music,” though it is not clear if they include any of the five oratorios listed as lost in the New Grove worklist. Of the 13 cantatas included in op. 2, 10 are secular and three sacred, Kirkby’s selection including five that fall under the former designation. All are descended from the arie di più parti, a form employed by Carissimi and other Roman composers in which a long text is set fluidly to a seamless alternation of expressive recitative, aria, and arioso. The key to such settings is a composer’s response to the ever fluctuating emotional development of the text. In this respect, Amodei proves himself an absolute master of the genre, covering an enormous gamut of affetti ranging from the declamatory to the most exquistely shaped melodic lines.

Most of the secular texts on the present disc belong loosely to the much favored pastoral genre, and three are narratives framing the direct speech of the protagonist. Perhaps the most remarkable is Già col manto dell’ombra (“Now in a cloak of shadows”), a masterpiece of color and intensity of emotion that, almost Winterreise-like, invites the listener to join the forlorn, jealous lover as he keeps solitary night vigil outside the house of the beloved. Poignantly interspersed by the ritornello-like refrain “Dormi, o bella, dormi, dormi” (“Sleep on, fair one”), the cantata rises to a peak of passionate intensity and pain before the voice finally dies away, all emotion spent. It’s a work that lies well for the now slighter darkened timbre of Kirkby’s voice, and even admirers may be surprised by the strength of her chest notes. But here, as throughout the recital, we are given nothing less than a consummate demonstration of the art of Emma Kirkby: perfect intonation and sense of line, impeccable phrasing and diction, an unrivalled ability to nuance and color a phrase or even a word. But why go on? If you’re a devotee, you already know all this; if you’re not, there’s nothing I can do to help you.

Lindberg and Mortensen are regular partners of Kirkby’s, but equally, of course, both are distinguished artists in their own right who provide the singer with flawless support. In addition, they play substantial instrumental interludes in the shape of a fine five-movement Sonata (in reality a suite) for archlute by the Roman theorbist Giovanni Zamboni and the exotically bizarre harpsichord Passagagli [sic] of Bernardo Storace.

At the outset, I wrote of the autumn of Kirkby’s career. I was wrong. On the evidence of this beautifully engineered disc, it is still in high summer. Add to that the fact that Amodei is a genuinely exciting discovery and you have a treasure of a disc that will only be ignored by collectors to their substantial loss.

Brian Robins, FANFARE
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Works on This Recording

1.
Cantate, Op. 2: Su l'ore che l'aurora by Cataldo Amodei
Performer:  Jakob Lindberg (Theorbo), Lars Ulrik Mortensen (Harpsichord), Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; Naples, Italy 
Language: Italian 
2.
Cantate, Op. 2: Tra l'erbette il piè sciogliea by Cataldo Amodei
Performer:  Lars Ulrik Mortensen (Harpsichord), Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; Naples, Italy 
Language: Italian 
3.
Sonate d'intavolatura di leuto, Op. 1: Excerpt(s) by Giovanni Zamboni
Performer:  Jakob Lindberg (Archlute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1718; Italy 
4.
Cantate, Op. 2: Va', ché l'hai fatto a me by Cataldo Amodei
Performer:  Jakob Lindberg (Archlute), Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; Italy 
Language: Italian 
5.
Cantate, Op. 2: Già col manto dell'ombre by Cataldo Amodei
Performer:  Lars Ulrik Mortensen (Harpsichord), Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; Naples, Italy 
Language: Italian 
6.
Selva di varie composizioni d'intavolatura per cimbalo ed organo: Passagagli sopra A la mi re by Bernardo Storace
Performer:  Lars Ulrik Mortensen (Harpsichord)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1664; Italy 
7.
Cantate, Op. 2: Colà dove il Sebeto by Cataldo Amodei
Performer:  Emma Kirkby (Soprano), Jakob Lindberg (Archlute)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; Italy 
Language: Italian 
8.
Cantate, Op. 2: Lieve al piè, grave al passo by Cataldo Amodei
Performer:  Jakob Lindberg (Theorbo), Lars Ulrik Mortensen (Harpsichord), Emma Kirkby (Soprano)
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1685; Naples, Italy 
Language: Italian 

Sound Samples

Su l'ore che l'aurora: Su l' ore che l' aurora
Tra l' erbette il pie sciogliea
Sonata in C minor: I. Preludio
Sonata in C minor: II. Alemanda
Sonata in C minor: III. Giga
Sonata in C minor: IV. Sarabanda
Sonata in C minor: V. Gavotta
Va', che l'hai fatto a me: Va', che l' hai fatto a me
Gia col manto dell' ombre
Passagagli sopra Alamire
Cola dove il Sebeto
Lieve al pie, grave al passo

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