Un jardin à l’italienne

Airs, cantates & madrigaux
Les solistes du jardin des voix 2015, Les Arts Florissants, William Christie
74:41
harmonia mundi HAF 8905283
Music by Banchieri, Cimarosa, Handel, Haydn, Sarro, Stradella, Vecchi, Vivaldi & de Wert

Recorded in 2015 and released in 2017, this is the showcase concert from Les Arts Florissants’s 7th ‘Le Jardin des Voix’ project, an intensive period of training/rehearsal for singers on the threshold of their careers. It was a staged ‘divertimento’ and recorded live, which explains a few places where the musical elements are not perfectly balanced within the soundscape. There are also ‘noises off’, some of which are the audience clearly enjoying a great evening’s entertainment. I absolutely take my hat off to the deviser of the programme which moves more or less chronologically from Wert to Haydn (via Stradella, Vivaldi, Handel and others), gives all six singers ‘stand out’ as well as ensemble moments and has a sense of narrative flow. Not all the music from the concert is on the CD (one of the essays – Fr/Ger/Eng – refers to music which we do not hear), but it’s still coherent and action-packed. Get this, complement and compliment it with a glass of your favourite and enjoy! I’d have loved a DVD.

Brian Clark

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