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Wednesday, February 13, 2019

I Diletti di Mazzarino, Jessica Gould & Ensemble L'Aura Soave, Rossi Mazzocchi, Carissimi, Cavalli, Lulli

There is much to be said for mixing it up, for a change in pace, for something from another time and place. I tried to watch the Grammys the other night and could not last very long. No offense to the artists honored but the current state of Pop may have a return of good vocalists yet sometimes I have a tough time with the instrumental parts. Alicia Keys' Hazel Scott tribute was nice enough, though. Still, changes of pace are not coming from Pop right now, not for me. Among the many other musics I appreciate and explore regularly, on the classical front a change in period can refresh me greatly.

Like for example there is this Modern-day performance example of original instrument chamber music with vocalist, works from the Italian Baroque, on the recent I Diletti di Mazzarino (At the Pleasure of Mazzarin) (Cremona 018/44). It is a nice gathering of a few choice instrumental miniatures along with vocal numbers featuring the very robust soprano Jessica Gould and a beautifully period Ensemble L'Aura Soave. They tackle works by the likes of Luigi Rossi, Virgilio Mazzocchi, Giacomo Carissimi, Francesco Cavalli, and Giovanni Battista Lulli (the French spelled his name Lully).

Not every composer will be familiar to those who are not specialists in the period and place, but the music is quite fetching. Jessica Gould has a great deal of energy, enthusiasm and verve. You might even say that she "belts" this music out. The ensemble is a sweet one. They and Ms. Gould take us swiftly and readily to another time and place. A few listens and I was very well disposed to this program. I like the rough and tumble local edge to it all and the timbre of the music reminds us that there was a special sound to it that has much to offer us.

Perhaps this might not be your first choice if you know nothing of the period. But for those who already have their ears attuned, this is a nice addition.

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