Celebrated Handelian René Jacobs, 'the most exciting opera conductor of the day' (Münchner Merkur), leads the dynamic, exquisitely honed Ghent ensemble and an outstanding cast in one of the composer's most spectacular and ravishingly beautiful creations. The title role, written for the legendary Senesino, is sung by its finest modern exponent, Bejun Mehta, 'one of the most commanding, exhilarating countertenors of the modern era' (New York Times).
Extempore II is the second collaboration between two quartets in widely varying fields: the early music specialist vocal group Orlando Consort and the jazz combo Perfect Houseplants. This project is structured as a mass in honor of St. Michael based around the medieval tune L'homme armé and various members of both groups are responsible for the pieces that make up the whole. The resulting patchwork arrangement of ideas works better in the second half of the program than it does in the first, where the variety of approaches seems a bit disorderly in terms of overall flow.
“Orlando finto pazzo ('Orlando feigns madness') was the second of Vivaldi's numerous operas, and his first for the Venetian stage. The story of Orlando's madness is taken not from the usual source, Ariosto's poem Orlando furioso, but Boiardo's earlier Orlando innamorato, a similarly tragicomic mix of love, intrigue and magic. In Ariosto's poem Orlando's madness is real, but here he pretends it for no obvious reason; in fact it's no more than a couple of episodes in a convoluted and unengaging plot built around a lovepentangle (no less), and further complicated by various disguises and rampant dissembling. As it happens, Vivaldi doesn't on this evidence appear to have been a natural musical dramatist. Yet what makes this music worth hearing is his evident desire to make an operatic splash at his first major attempt: there's music of irrepressible zest and personality; this early attempt deploys all the fiery and ebullient energy of his concertos and allies it to vocal music of neck-tingling excitement. Like Haydn, Vivaldi may not have been a great opera composer, but he did write operas full of great music. Alessandro de Marchi's joyous recording brings together a typical Italian Baroque cast for a performance and recording of skill and enthusiasm.” (The Gramophone)
Diving into Vivaldi's Orlando furioso with Jean-Christophe Spinosi, Matheus Ensemble, and a shockingly good cast is enough to make even the most jaded listener smile. It is fresh, unrelentingly impressive, and entertaining to a fault. The opera is over-plotted: the first paragraph of the synopsis is enough to confuse anyone not taking notes. And listening to the entire thing would amount to more flowery, athletic vocalism than most can stand in one sitting. But those with the remotest interest in Vivaldi opera, or opera at all, will be hard pressed not to marvel at the quality of what's recorded here. Spinosi is a brilliant Vivaldian who pulls sweet-toned lyricism and down-and-dirty sawing from his Matheus Ensemble, making the most of the composer's rich orchestration. And the cast pulls one rabbit after another out of its collective hat, tackling Vivaldi's consummately difficult arias with élan.
England's Orlando Consort, a quartet of male singers augmented as needed by other performers, offers performances of Renaissance vocal music that lie midway between the traditional and the highly individualized modern. Sometimes they veer toward one of those two extremes, but often, as on the present disc, they find a happy medium. Their sound, especially in sacred music, owes much to the English cathedral tradition, but there's a well-honed edge to their one-voice-to-a-part interpretations that brings out the crowds who've recently been drawn to early music. This disc is intended as an introduction to a composer who doesn't always offer easy listening to the modern ear. Netherlander Antoine Busnois, active at the end of the fifteenth century and considered the greatest figure between Dufay and Josquin, wrote music that broke free from elaborate medieval numerology but came in advance of Josquin's perfect marriage of music and text.
“40 Jahre Disco, Vol. 2: Dance The Disco” delivers a great selection of live performances from some of the hottest artists on the scene including Lipps, Inc., Amanda Lear, John Paul Young… Needless to say more - these names speak for themselves…