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Le Poème Harmonique - Firenze 1616 (Alpha Collection)

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Firenze 1616 (Alpha Collection)

Le Poème Harmonique / Vincent Dumestre

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Alpha Productions' Firenze 1616 features the French period-instrument group Le Poème Harmonique in a program that explores some of the finer points of Florentine music from around the time of the birth of opera. It was a time when monody was king, characterized by palpitating, highly florid concitato singing; bitter-sounding passing tones; loosely applied rhythms; and somber texts deeply invested in emotion. This would metamorphose, by about 1630, into a sound that was considerably more regular and recognizably Baroque; the stuttering concitato was scaled back, dissonances were a little less biting, and emotion was reined into a manner more in keeping with the mythic and exalted status of the Greco-Roman Gods about whom early operas were written. Many of these developments of standardization followed in the wake of the featured work here, the intermezzo L'Orfeo Dolente (1615) by Domenico Belli, a short work interspersed between acts of a play about Orpheus. The style of L'Orfeo Dolente is so manneristic and difficult that one scholar in the 1930s tried to date its origin to before 1600; contemporary accounts of the work indicate it was famous yet regarded as controversial, suggesting Belli was considered among the avant-garde of his day. As a collection, Firenze 1616 contains some of the most dissonant and challenging pieces of this period. Le Poème Harmonique's performance here is very restrained, low key, and repays patience. The music itself -- not just L'Orfeo Dolente, but also practically all of it -- is very subdued and serious for the most part; no joyous frottole or fanfares are joined into here. For some listeners this will prove monotonous, but if you are following the libretto, the variety of the instrumentation and generally fine qualities of singing make the program seem to move somewhat faster. It is divided into three parts, of which L'Orfeo Dolente is the last; the other two pull together solo madrigals by Caccini, Claudio Saracini, and Cristofano Malvezzi in such rapid succession it is sometimes difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. There is one instrumental piece of moderate tempo used to divide the first two parts. Although this era in music is generally symbolized by Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo, its sprightly fanfares and transparently lovely ritornelli are the exception rather than the rule, especially when contrasted with the products of the Caccini School and Florentine monody. Firenze 1616 is more like the real thing; music for highly skilled singers with continuo instruments that nevertheless had one foot in the rarefied realm of late Renaissance figures like Gesualdo and Luzzaschi, yet oddly enough, here that is not as interesting as it might sound. It is hard to put one's finger on what makes Alpha Productions' Firenze 1616 so dull at times; Le Poème Harmonique seems to be doing what it should, and while the singing is a little inconsistent, it is not enough to matter. Perhaps it has something to do with L'Orfeo Dolente, as in its own time this work was criticized for being unrelievedly depressing, and it may have signaled the first "reform" in opera history, which shook out the mannered harmonic style of the Renaissance. Something about Firenze 1616 inspires a kind of ennui that might be a good fit for a late night seated at a crossword puzzle; otherwise, expect a very active investment in what is essentially a passive experience.
© TiVo

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Firenze 1616 (Alpha Collection)

Le Poème Harmonique

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Sospiri d'amanti (Claudio Saracini)

1
I. Io moro
Le Poème Harmonique
00:03:54

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Claudio Saracini, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

2
II. Tutto'l di piango
Le Poème Harmonique
00:06:05

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Giulio Caccini, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

3
III. Non ha'l ciel
Le Poème Harmonique
00:03:50

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Giulio Caccini, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

Il rapimento di Cefalo (Cristofano Malvezzi)

4
I. Sinfonia quarta
Le Poème Harmonique
00:03:13

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Cristofano Malvezzi, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

5
II. Innefabile ardor
Le Poème Harmonique
00:00:39

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Giulio Caccini, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

6
III. Muove si dolce
Le Poème Harmonique
00:02:52

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Giulio Caccini, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

7
IV. Caduca fiamma
Le Poème Harmonique
00:02:34

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Giulio Caccini, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

L'Orfeo dolente (Domenico Belli)

8
Numi d'Abisso
Arnaud Marzorati
00:01:31

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

9
Deh se fur miei lamenti
Arnaud Marzorati
00:01:42

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

10
Ei fu soverchio ardire
Philippe Roche
00:00:42

Philippe Roche, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

11
Lasso o mai
Arnaud Marzorati
00:02:23

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

12
O del moi cor
Isabelle Druet
00:00:45

Isabelle Druet, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

13
Ascolta o genitrice
Arnaud Marzorati
00:01:38

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

14
Dell'atre Averno
Isabelle Druet
00:01:26

Isabelle Druet, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

15
L'Orfeo Dolente: Ei fu soverchio ardire
Philippe Roche
00:00:46

Philippe Roche, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

16
In darno far di mora
Isabelle Druet
00:00:23

Isabelle Druet, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

17
O quanto merto
Le Poème Harmonique
00:01:26

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

18
Rive ombrose e selvagie
Arnaud Marzorati
00:01:56

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

19
Quel si fero dolore
Isabelle Druet
00:01:51

Isabelle Druet, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

20
Bella mia genitrice
Arnaud Marzorati
00:00:49

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

21
Deh verdi erbosi colli
Isabelle Druet
00:00:38

Isabelle Druet, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

22
Non più lagrime o dolore
Arnaud Marzorati
00:02:13

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Jan Van Elsacker, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

23
Eper té s'oscura il cielo
Isabelle Druet
00:02:27

Isabelle Druet, Performer - Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Jan Van Elsacker, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

24
Qui d'Orfeo la dolce cetra
Catherine Padaut
00:02:34

Catherine Padaut, Performer - Camille Poul, Performer - Aurore Bucher, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

25
Venga omai venga sereno
Catherine Padaut
00:00:55

Catherine Padaut, Performer - Camille Poul, Performer - Aurore Bucher, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

26
Sospiroso dolore
Arnaud Marzorati
00:01:28

Arnaud Marzorati, Performer - Catherine Padaut, Performer - Camille Poul, Performer - Aurore Bucher, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

27
D'amaranti e di viole
Catherine Padaut
00:01:08

Catherine Padaut, Performer - Camille Poul, Performer - Aurore Bucher, Performer - Aranud Marzorati, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

28
Poi qu'amor
Le Poème Harmonique
00:01:38

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

29
Dunque in sen d'erbosi valli
Catherine Padaut
00:00:34

Catherine Padaut, Performer - Camille Poul, Performer - Aurore Bucher, Performer - Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

30
Son fonti e fiumi
Le Poème Harmonique
00:04:43

Le Poème Harmonique, Performer - Vincent Dumestre, Performer - Domenico Belli, Composer

Alpha Classics / Outhere Music France Alpha

Album Description

Alpha Productions' Firenze 1616 features the French period-instrument group Le Poème Harmonique in a program that explores some of the finer points of Florentine music from around the time of the birth of opera. It was a time when monody was king, characterized by palpitating, highly florid concitato singing; bitter-sounding passing tones; loosely applied rhythms; and somber texts deeply invested in emotion. This would metamorphose, by about 1630, into a sound that was considerably more regular and recognizably Baroque; the stuttering concitato was scaled back, dissonances were a little less biting, and emotion was reined into a manner more in keeping with the mythic and exalted status of the Greco-Roman Gods about whom early operas were written. Many of these developments of standardization followed in the wake of the featured work here, the intermezzo L'Orfeo Dolente (1615) by Domenico Belli, a short work interspersed between acts of a play about Orpheus. The style of L'Orfeo Dolente is so manneristic and difficult that one scholar in the 1930s tried to date its origin to before 1600; contemporary accounts of the work indicate it was famous yet regarded as controversial, suggesting Belli was considered among the avant-garde of his day. As a collection, Firenze 1616 contains some of the most dissonant and challenging pieces of this period. Le Poème Harmonique's performance here is very restrained, low key, and repays patience. The music itself -- not just L'Orfeo Dolente, but also practically all of it -- is very subdued and serious for the most part; no joyous frottole or fanfares are joined into here. For some listeners this will prove monotonous, but if you are following the libretto, the variety of the instrumentation and generally fine qualities of singing make the program seem to move somewhat faster. It is divided into three parts, of which L'Orfeo Dolente is the last; the other two pull together solo madrigals by Caccini, Claudio Saracini, and Cristofano Malvezzi in such rapid succession it is sometimes difficult to tell where one ends and the other begins. There is one instrumental piece of moderate tempo used to divide the first two parts. Although this era in music is generally symbolized by Monteverdi's opera L'Orfeo, its sprightly fanfares and transparently lovely ritornelli are the exception rather than the rule, especially when contrasted with the products of the Caccini School and Florentine monody. Firenze 1616 is more like the real thing; music for highly skilled singers with continuo instruments that nevertheless had one foot in the rarefied realm of late Renaissance figures like Gesualdo and Luzzaschi, yet oddly enough, here that is not as interesting as it might sound. It is hard to put one's finger on what makes Alpha Productions' Firenze 1616 so dull at times; Le Poème Harmonique seems to be doing what it should, and while the singing is a little inconsistent, it is not enough to matter. Perhaps it has something to do with L'Orfeo Dolente, as in its own time this work was criticized for being unrelievedly depressing, and it may have signaled the first "reform" in opera history, which shook out the mannered harmonic style of the Renaissance. Something about Firenze 1616 inspires a kind of ennui that might be a good fit for a late night seated at a crossword puzzle; otherwise, expect a very active investment in what is essentially a passive experience.
© TiVo

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