Francesca Cassinara soprano, Marta Fumagalli mezzo, Roberto Balconi alto, Mauro Borgioni bass, Gabriele Cassone & Matteo Frigé natural trumpets, Antonio Fringé organ, Alberto Stevanin violin, Marco Testori cello, Rei Ishizawa oboe, Ugo Galasso chalumeau, Ensemble Pian & Forte, Francesco Fanna conductor
RV537, 554A, 779 + arias from various operas
As the booklet notes explain, the trumpet is mostly associated with war and/or royalty in baroque opera. The seven arias from Vivaldi operas confirm the stereotype but also remind the listener of the technical demands the composer put on his singers. Most successful of the four soloists in Francesca Cassinara, whose bright soprano voice is well suited to combination with trumpets and oboes. Marta Fumagalli’s fruitier sound distorts some pitches but the bravura in her aria (which is Track 13, not 11 as printed in the booklet and on the record company’s website!) is exceptional, though I could have lived without the staccato arpeggios added to the Da Capo! The men are adequate. The instrumental playing is actually very good – the strings phrase nicely and layer dynamics convincingly. There is an elephant in the room, though – why does the disc conclude with a chamber concerto without trumpet? No matter how nicely it is played, does it actually serve a purpose? Sure one of the bravura soprano arias could have been held in reserve?