5 Sterne Fono Forum Klassik
The countertentor Jakub Józef Orliński emerged as a vocal phenomenon in 2017 and 2018. There were several reasons for this: he comes from Poland, which has no tradition of countertenor singing; he has charisma to burn (he is a competition-level breakdancer in his spare time); and, above all, he has a creamy tone that diverges from the muscular castrato evocations that have become the norm. With his debut solo release, Anima Sacra, he adds yet more reasons to like him. Instead of playing it safe with the usual Handel arias, he has chosen, with the help of researcher Yannis François, sacred music by a group of composers who will be mostly unfamiliar even to hardcore Baroque hounds. The album would be worth your time for these alone, even if they were sung in a pedestrian way, for they include material to which other singers will want to return as soon as possible. Those by the Taranto-born Neapolitan Nicola Fago are especially nice, and you may want to sample "Inititum sapentiae timor Comini, from the motet Confitebor tibi, Domine, to get an idea of the music and also of Orliński's way of making a single note seem exciting (try the initial vocal entrance). The sacred material also fits Orliński marvelously well. In the more operatic pieces he's clean and effective, but where he really shines is in long melodic lines in the midrange that allow the listener to luxuriate in sheer vocal beauty. There's a bit of trying to cover all the bases here: Orliński has himself pictured shirtless in a kind of shower curtain effect, but also goes for a scholarly image with the unusual material. And in some of the longer pieces the line is lost. But this will all clear up with time, and the presence of the superb historical-instrument group Il Pomo d'Oro under Maxim Emelyanychev gives you an idea of the excitement that is rightly surrounding this young countertenor.