Baroque music is not the usual province of soprano Anna Netrebko, or contralto Marianna Pizzolato, or conductor Antonio Pappano, or the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma, so the listener might approach this tribute to the 300th anniversary of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi with some skepticism, but the performers do a terrific job. The orchestra uses modern instruments, so this is never going to be mistaken for a recording by Baroque specialists, but everyone involved approaches the challenge with such sensitivity and such evident excitement that listeners who don't demand absolute adherence to cutting-edge developments in early music practice are likely to be swept up.
Ethno Vocal Trio I perform Armenian traditional songs, the group includes professional performers Anna Mailian - mezzo-soprano, Hjognine Avdalyan, Hastik Zakaryan
Since 1987, Dan Laurin has released some thirty titles on BIS. On his latest disc, Sonates et Suites he has chosen to visit France at an exciting point in time. In the early 18th century, when all of the sonatas and suites included here were composed, the system of censorship that ensured that nothing was printed without royal permission was beginning to crumble, at least in the field of music.
The Russian composer Elena Langer, now resident in Britain, draws on influences from her native country (Shostakovich, especially in the chamber orchestration of these songs), from Britain (from Britten to Thomas Adès), and from continental Europe. As a song composer she is able to convey lightness even when dealing with serious material such as the title song cycle setting poems by Lee Harwood (most of the songs on the album are in English). These songs subtly depict love triangles, some of them with both straight and gay elements. Even better are the genuinely playful pieces.