I viaggi di Caravaggio

Jessica Gould soprano, Diego Cantalupi lute/chitarrone
54:49
Cremona MVC 017-043
Ferrari, Kapsberger, Laurencini, Mazzocchi, Merula, Rigatti & Sances

The unifying principle of this CD eludes me, partly because I think the link between the famous painter and any of the music is tenuous to say the least, but also because the English translation, by the soprano soloist herself, is not a little impenetrable. However, suffice perhaps that the painter and the mainly Italian composers of the early 17th century represented here demonstrate the same impassioned sense of drama in their creative enterprises. This is technically challenging music for the singer, and I’m afraid Jessica Gould rarely sounds completely comfortable or in control and occasionally suffers from fairly eye-watering lapses in intonation and tone. This is unfortunate as her partner on the lute, Diego Cantalupi, displays a consistent mastery of the music, and Gould herself has a fine sense of drama. However, track after track she undercuts notes and elsewhere wanders from the pitch frequently enough to make this programme very difficult to listen to. I was hoping to find something to enthuse about in the packaging of the CD, but finding the programme notes perverse, I then discovered that the package has nowhere to store the booklet – kind of symptomatic.

D. James Ross