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GRAMOPHONE (03/2013)
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Virgin Classics
 Virgin 4645452

Code-barres / Barcode : 5099946454522 (ID315)


Reviewer: David Vickers

Abridged version

II Pomo d’Oro only formed last year but the band already have a prolific recording profile, with several Naïve Vivaldi Edition volumes - under their belt. Now they are involved in two countertenor recitals, both directed by the orchestra’s principal concertmaster Riccardo Minasi. Max Emanuel Cencic places a few Vivaldi arias (including some whose authorship is uncertain) alongside an attractive variety of music by close contemporaries who were either Venetian compatriots or at least had close tics to the city. Cencic and Il Pomo d’Oro both have a predilection for flamboyant gestures, so there is plenty of visceral energy in quick music such as ‘Barbaro non cornprendo’ (from Caldara’s Adriano in Siria). Minasi also allows slower music to breathe softly, such as the beguiling pastoral ‘Mormorando quelle fronde’ (from Porta’s La costanza combattuta in amore), during which two concertino violins play in tandem with pizzicato strings. Cencic is supremely talented at getting around fast coloratura passages (‘Io son rea dell’onor mio’ from Vivaldi’s Argippo) but reflective lyrical arias prove to be more memorable, such as Apollo’s ‘Pianta bella’ from Albinoni’s serenata II nascirnento de l’Aurora. The monotony of strings and continuo makes one yearn for some woodwind or brass.

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