Casani: Il viaggio di Tobia

[Laura Antonaz Angelo, Claudine Ansermet Tobia Figlio, Mya Fracassini Anna, Jeremy Ovenden Raguele, Sergio Foresti Tobia Padre – SsmSTB], Coro della Radiotelevisione Svizzera, I Barocchisti, Diego Fasolis
122:43 (2 CDs)
Dynamic CDS 7055/1-2

This late 17th-century oratorio has both text and music by the little-known Giovanni Maria Casini, a Florentine who had gained favour at the court of Cosimo III and Ferdinando Medici, where he came into contact with Alessandro Scarlatti. The present recording has five solo singers and a choir for those movements called “coro” (I would have thought Casini would have expected the soloists to sing those, too) and a band of strings and continuo, with a pair of trumpets used sparingly, considering the fact that one of the leading characters in the drama is an angel. I think the strings are playing concertino and ripieno parts, but the booklet is as disappointing in this respect as it is when it comes to a decent translation of the note (concerto becomes concerto, not concert, for example!), let alone one of the text, or even an indication of how the five acts are spread between the 71 tracks! Although there is much to enjoy from the instrumentalists, I am afraid I derived much less pleasure from the solo voices – too much “me” and not enough “essence of the character I’m supposed to be portraying” for my taste.

Brian Clark