Guillemette Laurens, Le Poème Harmonique, Vincent Dumestre
Released as part of a retrospective series from the Alpha label, this CD of the music of Bellerofonte Castaldi is in many ways entirely representative of the label’s achievement. Seeking to bring the work of unfamiliar composers to wider attention in performances which are true to the values of these composers, in 1998 this recording was Alpha’s first release as well as being the first recording by Le Poème Harmonique. A wandering poet/composer exiled from Modena for a revenge murder, Castaldi’s life may be the ideal subject for a novel but did not lend itself to making its composer’s music well known, but coming fresh to his output I found it stimulating and engaging. A major factor in this is the expressive singing of Guillemette Laurens, a singer at her absolute prime on this CD, while the fresh and inventive soundworld conjured up by instruments of Le Poème Harmonique is constantly intriguing. This recording, nearly twenty years old, stands up very well indeed with a clear true recording and a thoroughly convincing approach to the constantly shifting world of authentic vocal style and accompaniment.
D. James Ross