The members of the ensemble La Venexiana won in 1994 the Gramophone Award for Early Music under the name Concerto Italiano. They are some of the most experienced European performers in the early music field, and have been singing together for many years, establishing a new style in Italian early music performances: a warm, truly Mediterranean blend of textual declamation, textural color and harmonic refinement. This repertoire seems to be created as if to let them fully show their expressive powers. Barbara Strozzi's talent shines in this pieces, designed to show her excepcional dramatic powers and unique gifts for musical imaginery. Many of these madrigals have the appearance of a succession of operatic scenes in miniature, each with its particular dramatic atmosphere and with the participation of several soloists.
Voglio cantar – ‘I want to sing’ – is Emőke Baráth’s first solo album for Erato. The young Hungarian soprano has built a special reputation in Baroque music and the prime focus here is on Barbara Strozzi, who made her name as a composer in 17th century Venice. “She must have been quite a revolutionary personality,” says Emőke Baráth. “Her music is improvisational, intuitive, even rhapsodic … She was clearly a passionate woman with a strong dramatic sense.” Baráth is joined by Il Pomo d’Oro, conducted by Francesco Corti.
This is the only recording of sacred music by the extraordinary 17th-century Venetian singer and composer Barbara Strozzi. The Latin works in her collection Sacri Affetti Musicali were entirely suitable for church performance–something Strozzi herself, as a woman outside a convent, was forbidden to do. Most likely she performed these pieces as "spiritual recreation" at meetings of the "Academy of the Unisons" founded by her father, a well-known poet.
Eleven imaginative and melodically striking vocal pieces from a collection published in 1660, towards the end of the relatively short life of one of the most famous female composers, Barbara Strozzi. Ranging in length from two minutes to 14 and with a variety of moods to match, they are performed with feeling (though not a lot of colour) by Emanuela Galli with jangling support from Ensemble Galilei’s three guitars, four theorbos and (only one) organ. The haunting Lagrime mie is alone worth the price of the disc.
Serena along with Regina Albanez on theorbo and baroque guitar and Pauline Schenk on harpsichord recorded the CD "Udite, amanti" (Listen, dear ones!). The CD is an anthology of early Baroque songs by composers such as Monteverdi, Merula, Strozzi, Caccini and Lambert. Inja Botden accompanies three songs along on baroque cello and guest tenor Georgi Sztojanov will sing two duets with Serena.
Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená's collection of vocal solos (plus a few instrumental tracks) from the early Baroque, Lettere Amorose, "Love Letters," is a delight. The recital includes some familiar pieces like d'India's Cruda Amarilli, Monteverdi's Sì dolce è il tormento, and Sanz's giddy dance, Canarios, but consists largely of repertoire that's more obscure but no less engaging. Merula's lullaby chaconne Hor ch'è tempo di dormire is a jewel, gorgeously idiosyncratic and deeply emotional. Caccini's erotic Odi, Euterpe, 'I dolce canto could be mistaken for mature Monteverdi at his most mischievous, but it dates from 1601 or 1602, when Monteverdi was at an early stage in his career. A real standout of the album is Strozzi's L'Eraclito amoroso: Udite amanti, which alternates sections of extravagantly expressive recitative with a ravishingly lyrical chaconne. Kozená easily has the technique to make the music glow and the dramatic gifts to bring it movingly to life. Her sharply characterized interpretations of the songs make each of them seem as fully realized and potent as a short operatic scene. Her voice has the burnished warmth of a mezzo, but can gleam when she soars into her upper register, and throughout she maintains an exquisite purity.