Cantilena: Works For Soprano, Harp, And Cello

Album cover art for upc 896931005937
Label: Navona
Catalog: NV6293

Arend, Britt; Camilleri, Frank; Zammit, Gillian

Since the late 18th century, art songs have combined poetic vocals and equally intricate instrumental accompaniments to delight listeners with intimate compositions across the globe. The Malta Philharmonic Orchestra Trio’s CANTILENA spans the centuries and continents to highlight the form’s enduring appeal. CANTILENA transports listeners through time and cultures as soprano Gillian Zammit, harpist Britt Arend, and cellist Frank Camilleri explore the national traditions and stylistic traits of individual composers who embraced the emotional impact and stripped-down arrangement of the art song. The album opens with works by Debussy, Duparc, Fauré, and Massenet, who exemplify the French penchant for precision and expression in elegant mélodies with accompaniments that shine a light on the emotions expressed in their texts. The lyrical traditions of Italy then come into focus, with folksong-inspired pieces by Tosti featuring beautiful Italianate melodic phrases and a haunting instrumental by Tedeschi. The European tour is concluded with Strauss, with a series of lieder that range from joyous and playful to dark and brooding. The program takes a contemporary turn with Alexander Vella Gregory’s Tluq, based on poetry by John Aquilina. The short song cycle spans the gamut of human emotion in relationships, beginning with the loss of love and regret to the eventual relief of reconciliation. To close things out, Heitor Villa-Lobos’ Bachianas Brasileiras pays homage to Bach’s Baroque idioms with a heady fusion of Brazilian folk and popular music.

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