Rainaldi: Cantate e Duetti vol. III

Arianna Miceli soprano, Marika Spadafino soprano, Antonio Orsini tenor, RomaBarocca Ensemble, Lorenzi Tozzi
Tactus TC 611803

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Carlo Rainaldi, an established and admired architect in the Italian Baroque period, underlines the underappreciated links between architecture and music – the precepts of Vetruvius link the two closely. While Rainaldi’s role in the architecture of 17th-century Rome has long been understood, his influence on the Roman Cantata of the same period has only recently been understood. The present series of recordings – this is the third volume – explores his music for solo and duet voices with basso continuo, and reveals a composer of considerable technical skill and imagination. He is the master of the unexpected, with startling changes in harmony and texture, while always maintaining a pleasing level of musicality. The performances here alternate two soprano voices, with the introduction of a tenor for one duet and two duets for both sopranos, with sympathetic instrumental accompaniment from theorbo, gamba/bass and harpsichord. I have occasional reservations about the intonation of both sopranos, although they sing expressively enough and both have a sweet tone. The duets for two sopranos seem to inspire the best music from Rainaldi, although the intonation issues persist. Notwithstanding the superabundance of such repertoire, Rainaldi’s contribution seems well worth exploring, and the present performers are to be applauded for bringing his music to a wider audience.

D. James Ross

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