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Monday, October 28, 2013

Jose Lemos, Io Vidi in Terra

The countertenor, the male voice so much a part of early music, if the singer is good, has a sound very otherworldly, uncanny. That is the case with Jose Lemos, and he shows this with great artistry on his collection of 17th Century Italian songs, Io Vidi in Terra (Sono Luminus 92172). He is accompanied by Jory Vinikour on harpsichord and/or Deborah Fox on the theorbo, a kind of lute of the era.

The single-voiced song form was actually unusual before the 17th century Italian composers began excelling at it. The collection has some gems, by Monteverdi, Frescobaldi as well as lesser known (to us) composers such as Merula, Ferrari, Strozzi, etc.

The combination of an exceptional countertenor in Lemos and the spirited accompaniment, with a few instrumental pieces scattered here and there to spell the songs, works remarkably well. Lemos has the embellishments, the delivery and the phrasing that works with the authentic period instrumental playing style to create a world that we no longer know in our contemporary world but recognize as fully worthy of our attention.

Not since Alfred Deller have I heard a countertenor with this level of musicality and spirit. And the music is superb. I can't say that more emphatically--and I have nothing to gain by saying it except perhaps to convince others of what they will get with this release, to bring them the pleasure I experience myself by listening.

By the way, as with many Sono Luminus releases this comes as a set: a CD with the stereo mixes and a Blue-ray disk with 5:1 surround sound.

2 comments:

  1. I am not precisely unbiased, but, boy, do I agree with Grego! Thank you!

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  2. Hello Jory,
    It's not bias even if you are doing great things on the harpsichord to make Jose sound all the better. Not bias--it's the truth!! I am glad to get the word out and even happier to experience this music. It is pure joy!
    Thank YOU,
    Grego

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