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Monday, May 2, 2011

Record of the Weekend - Christina Pluhar/Marco Beasley "Stefano Landi - Homo fugit velut umbra..."

STEFANO LANDI (circa 1586-1639)

"Homo fugit velut umbra..."
Marco Beasley, tenor
Johannette Zomer, soprano
Stephan Van Dyck, tenore
Alain Buet, basso
L’Arpeggiata - Christina Pluhar, dir.

My (musical) enamourement for Christina Pluhar and her ensemble dates to some years ago, when - thanking my friend Pino - I discovered this strange mix of ancient, ethnic, folk, classical music, with "Los Impossibles", ancient european music as it returned from the New World - i.e. - Mexico, with embedded Meso-American/Spanish flavours... an absolute masterpiece (be careful, Roman;-)... this is NOT for your tastes and I don't want you blaming and hating me like with "La Bamba"...).

In Landi's disk, Pluhar's approach is more academic than on other occasions and Marco Beasley's "recitar cantando" - i.e. his superb singing with the clearest of pronunciations ever - and superb voice and texts always sooo easily intellegible, is, TRULY is, a beauty for the ears and the heart.

Would be a flower, it's a daisy, not a rose... but still a Nature's masterpiece.

Pluhar's approach is very clever in finding seldom performed and/or recorded italian 16th and 17th Century music, mostly from Rome and the highest cultural peak age of Popes and noble families (Barberini and Borghese) and their courts whose artists cohort was on same par as Versailles' and its shiny highlights.

Kapsberger, Landi... their music was extremely elegant and formally and technically "perfect", but - very important underlining this - the melodies were VERY often coming from popular songs and tunes of the time... an interesting admixture of classic and pop;-) ante-litteram.

Songs like "T'amai gran Tempo" or "A che più l'arco tendere", love songs and vocal duets, are mixed with "Canta la Cicaleta" and a quite amazing "short" version of Rinaldo and Armida story in "Quando Rinaldo", sure not reaching Monteverdi's beauty, but nice and balanced.

I put this Alpha's disk in loop-mode and I enjoyed it immensely... maybe I'm so fond of this music I'm quite partial, BUT... I sincerely wish more and more people give a listen to this... italian artifact.

It's food for your ears, soul and... yes, music system, as well.

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