Steven Isserlis and Richard Egarr here assemble all the viola da gamba sonatas written by three composers born in the propitious year of 1685: one each by Handel and Domenico Scarlatti, and three by JS Bach. Isserlis plays them on the gamba’s modern cousin, the cello, and the microphone loves his playing, picking up all the nuances and scampering asides from his soft-spoken instrument which can sometimes get lost in big concert halls. Egarr on harpsichord matches Isserlis’s eloquence and rambunctious energy all the way. The dreamy, airy slow movement of Bach’s Sonata in G minor brings telling use of vibrato as Isserlis circles around Egarr, his playing at once idiomatic and soulful. An extra cellist reinforces the bass line in the Handel and Scarlatti, in which the composers give the harpsichordist only a framework; Egarr’s imaginative realisations ensure that even when Scarlatti is at his most repetitive, he is never dull.
inaugurated Cecilia Bartoli’s first season as Artistic Director of the Salzburg Whitsun Festival in 2012. “Bartoli’s Dream Start with Dream Voices” wrote the Vienna Kurier of this uproarious Moshe Leiser/Patrice Caurier in which Bartoli heads a hand-picked cast including Andreas Scholl, Philippe Jaroussky and Anne Sofie Von Otter with Il Giardino Armonico conducted by Giovanni Antonini. “[Andreas Scholl’s] coloratura is note perfect, he phrases recitatives with as much musicianship as arias, and the steadiness and purity of his voice are remarkable.” The Financial Times
Cecilia Bartoli’s exploration of the music of Steffani continues on from her best-selling recording ‘Mission’ with an album of the celebrated Stabat Mater alongside Steffani’s greatest sacred works for chorus, orchestra and soloists, constituting the most comprehensive collection of Steffani’s sacred choral music on CD. Bartoli leads an array of internationally celebrated singers including countertenor Franco Fagioli, the bass Salvo Vitale and the two young German tenors Daniel Behle and Julian Prégardien. Diego Fasolis conducts the authentic instrument forces of I Barocchisti and the chorus of RSI Lugano
By 1741 Handel was out of the opera business. For three decades he had presided over a thriving Italian Opera House in London, had produced dozens of operas by other composers as well as written and produced some thirty five or so operas of his own composition. All this time he had been in the favor of the royals and the "people of Quality". However the tastes of the London audience had changed and he had gone from a wealthy man to near bankruptcy. Now he simply changed forms and was writing oratorios in English and was again prospering. A succession of "hits" folloowed including Messiah, Samson, Saul, Joseph and his Brethren etc. Then in 1743 he too up the script of Semele, a tale from Ovid…
Most opera lovers by now are familiar with Armida and her crew: Handel, Gluck, and any number of other composers were mad over the story of the enchantress and her attempts to lure the hero Rinaldo away from his crusading duties and into her enchanted isle. The form is essentially opera seria, but Haydn was too great a composer to be restricted by its rigidity and therefore gives us scenes in many forms: arioso leading into aria, accompanied recitative leading to big confrontational arias, and more… –Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com
For more than two decades, Cecilia Bartoli has undeniably been one of the leading artists in the field of classical music. All over the world, her new operatic roles, her concert programs and recording projects – in exclusivity with Decca – are expected with great eagerness and curiosity. The exceptional amount of 8 million CDs sold, more than 100 weeks ranking in the international pop charts, numerous Golden Discs, four Grammys® (USA), nine Echos and a Bambi (Germany), two Classical Brit Awards (UK), the Victoire de la musique (France) and many other prestigious awards reflect the immense success of for example Opera proibita and her solo albums dedicated to Vivaldi, Gluck and Salieri and that she is firmly established as today’s “best-selling classical artist”.
A beautiful scenic film by Olivier Simonnet. Filmed in high-definition widescreen. Cecilia Bartoli sings virtuoso arias from her Sacrificium album, on location in and around the spectacular baroque palace of Caserta in Southern Italy, just outside of Naples. This unique film shows Cecilia Bartoli in full costume singing a selection of showpiece arias written for the castrato stars of the Neapolitan school. Ravishing locations including the Court Theatre, the stunning Vestibule and the Palace Gardens. Arias include Handel's "Ombra mai fu" and Broschi's "Son qual nave"–previously only available in the deluxe version of the album. The film also showcases the leading Italian period ensemble Il Giardino Armonico under their director Giovanni Antonini. Special bonus features include an illustrated interview in which Cecilia Bartoli talks about the Sacrificium project, and a visual guide to the Palace, town and region of Caserta. (amazon.com)