Suzie LeBlanc: soprano, La Nef, Alexander Weimann: conductor
Giovanni-Felice Sances: Accenti queruli / Usurpator Tiranno Johann Hieronymus (Giovanni Girolamo) Kapsberger: Corrente Quinta / Sinfonia Duodecima à 2 Canti Stefano Landi: Amarillide, deh vieni / Mentre cantiam Marco Marazzoli: Nobil Donna in rozzo manto Giovanni Battista Vitali: Ciaccona Benedetto Ferrari: Amanti, io vi so dire Bernardo Storace: Ciaconna Girolamo Frescobaldi: Toccatta per Spinettina e Violino / Canzona Secunda a canto solo / Canzona Secunda a basso solo Luigi Rossi: Lasciate Averno Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina: Pulchra es amica mea Luigi Rossi: Dormite begl' occhi / Passacaglia
Wholenote Discoveries - November 2010
Maffeo Barberini (1568-1644) is better known as Pope Urban VIII, who reigned from 1623-1644. His family crest was changed to incorporate bees, a symbol of industrious behaviour, and under his patronage composers flocked to him like bees to a honey-pot. Seventeen of their compositions are collected here. This is not just the conventional baroque string ensemble; Giovanni Kapsberger’s Corrente Quinta is embellished by Matthew Jennejohn’s cornetto playing, while there is a virtuoso harpsichord solo as La Nef’s conductor Alexander Weimann plays a ciaccona by Bernardo Storace. As for Suzie LeBlanc, her soprano voice is thoroughly tested from the spirited Amarillide, deh! Vieni to the far more profound Nobil Donna in rozzo manto by Marco Marazzoli with its tragic classical narration, and then to the jocularity of Amanti, io vi so dire as it pokes fun at the tribulations of young lovers. The legend of Orpheus features often on the CD and one must mention Suzie LeBlanc’s rendition of Lasciate Averno with its account of tragic events, this time perhaps reflecting in its intensity Luigi Rossi’s then-still-recent loss of his wife. With nine instrumental and eight vocal pieces, it is difficult to say which is the more moving or inspiring genre but then it is difficult to imagine a finer introduction to seventeenth-century Italian courtly music. Michael Schwartz
Suzie LeBlanc joins La Nef under the direction of Alexander Weimann to recreate Renaissance Music as it was heard and presented in Rome at the Barberini’ Palace . The Barberinis surrounded themselves with illustrious thinkers, musicians, artists, and poets, and formed an extended papal family which shared artworks, silver and servants. They mounted lavish theatrical productions, outdoor pageants, presented private music, commissioned art works, and utilized architects. They maintained separate houses but employed many of the same composers, performers, instruments, and performing spaces which linked them all to a common intellectual and artistic program.