Notes and Editorial Reviews
Charles Daniels (ten); Montréal Baroque
ATMA 22337 (Hybrid multichannel SACD: 62:16
Text and Translation)
MONTEVERDI, HUME, GUÉDRON, CACCINI, PICCHI, D’INDIA, DOWLAND
This instrumental ensemble has no conductor, although some reviews of early music in the past have characterized the director of a few musicians as a “conductor.” No one is even listed as director, though the bass viol player Susie Napper is described in the notes as artistic director. Every June for several years she has organized the Montreal Baroque Festival, for which she assembles members of this ensemble. The program is a varied collection of music inspired by the legend of Orfeo’s tears, shed for his lost love. Perhaps the greatest interest is the juxtaposition of so many composers and works, more than one might recall offhand. Only Jacopo Peri is missing for his early
, oddly enough, and the brief air by Caccini is not taken from his equally early
. Daniels sings nine of the 17 tracks, including Orfeo’s great aria from Monteverdi’s act V and two others from acts I and II.
This is an original idea, carried out with considerable panache. Some liberties are taken, for example, with Dowland’s
Flow my teares
. Since it follows
I saw my Lady weepe
in Dowland’s Second Book, the subject is a lady and hence cannot be Orfeo. (Two anonymous transcriptions of the underlying
are also heard, one for harpsichord, the other for two lutes.) The closest we come to the Orfeo theme, after Monteverdi’s arias, is Sigismondo d’India’s
. The generalized theme of tears takes its starting point in the Orfeo story and broadens out from there. As a program of fairly offbeat music of the early Baroque, this is well done and enjoyable.
FANFARE: J. F. Weber