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Reviews CONCERTO ITALIANO & RINALDO ALESSANDRINI
 

The Guardian 5/11/2017 : CD Bach arr Alessandrini: Variations on Variations – revelatory Goldbergs and more
Most arrangements of Bach’s adaptable music aim to bring it up to date for modern instruments; this group of transcriptions adapt it to the resources of the time but in new guises. So the great organ Passacaglia in C minor becomes a vigorous essay for solo strings, adding transparency and bite to the glorious sonorities. The Aria variata and Canzona are lesser pieces, but the revelation here is the Goldberg Variations, reimagined as a breathtaking romp. The canons are strictly done, but in the freer variations Rinaldo Alessandrini adds parts at will and dazzles with the virtuosity of his ensemble’s playing. At the end, solo harpsichord and strings touchingly intertwine. Nicholas Kenyon - Article

Classica nr 193 Novembre 2017: Chocs de l’année - CD Monteverdi Nuit, Histoires d’amants et de guerriers
Le créateur du bien nommé Concerto Italiano, une lampe à huile la main, nous emmène parcourir cette Nuit qui dispense ses jeux d’ombres et de lumières. Placé en concurrence avec lui-même dans toutes les pièces sélectionnés, Alessandrini est d’une rare constance.
Les chanteurs, certes, ont changé, mais Hor che’l ciel e la terra conserve ce tempo étiré et ces phrasés décantés qui, seuls, parviennent à faire entendre le silence en musique.
L’écrin instrumental, plus suggestif, fait l’économie du clavecin au profit du théorbe dans l’ultime Tanto della salute.
La variété des accents fait du narrateur du Combattimento un microcosme d’humanité, tandis que l’ensembles à cordes ouvre l’imaginaire de l’auditeur. À la rondeur, à la lumière tamisée de la version des Arts Florissants (harmonia Mundi) répondent ici des éclairages noirs et ocre qui tisonnent les affetti. Ensorcelant.

La Clef Resmusica 7/07/2017: Nuit, Théâtre, Histoires d'amour et de guerre avec Monteverdi et le Concerto Italiano
Tout le contraire de récentes parutions, cette nouvelle version des grands madrigaux de Monteverdi se caractérise par une théâtralité affirmée. Rinaldo Alessandrini et le Concerto Italiano nous emmènent vers de nouveaux sommets.
….C’est sur un fascinant « Hor che’l ciel e la terra », que démarre cette formidable démonstration de rhétorique, autant verbale que musicale. La subtile architecture des volumes sonores confère au madrigal polyphonique un dramatisme rarement atteint. De façon similaire, le Combattimento est l’un des plus passionnés que l’on ait pu entendre ces dernières décennies, et rarement le mariage d’Éros et de Thanatos aura été consommé avec une telle puissance.
…L’interprétation, on l’aura compris, est de la plus grande qualité, même si les voix n’ont pas la beauté intrinsèque de celles que l’on trouve sur de précédentes versions. Au moelleux des timbres se substituent donc l’intelligence du texte et la finesse de l’interprétation. Maître absolu des rythmes, des colorations instrumentales et des édifices architecturaux, Alessandrini emmène vers de nouveaux sommets ses musiciens du Concerto Italiano.
Un Monteverdi pour rêver, vibrer et aimer, pour vivre et mourir. Pierre Degott - Article

NDR.de 12/05/2017: Claudio Monteverdi: Night - Stories of Lovers and Warriors
…Die sechs Sänger und neun Instrumentalisten des Concerto Italiano sind ein eingespieltes Team und eng mit der Musik und den Texten vertraut. Sie formen und genießen die Vokale, die Konsonanten und die Betonungen der Wörter so expressiv und natürlich, wie es wahrscheinlich nur Muttersprachlern gelingt….Rinaldo Alessandrini erweckt die Leidenschaft der Musik zu neuem Leben und rundet das Programm mit kurzen Ouvertüren und Zwischenspielen ab, in denen er die Farben der Historischen Instrumente leuchten lässt. Eine aufregende und zugleich sehr stimmige CD, ideal für eine Erstbegegnung mit dem Komponisten, aber auch für Monteverdi-Kenner. Marcus Stäbler - Full article

Diapason Mai 2017 : Nouveauté CD Monteverdi
…Un hor ch’el ciel e la terra proprement inouï, auquel prélude la sinfonia du sommeil de Charon (L’orfeo), stupéfie dès ses premières notes. Le premier quatrain du sonnet de Pétrarque gagne une lenteur saisissante et un déclamation hagarde, fantomatique : le silence de la nuit devient une matière palpable. Un prodigieux étirement du temps autorise une gradation idéale des affetti, du molle vers le temperato, au fil vers des vers. Surgit alors le stile concitato, qui porte le discours et les passions au comble de l’agitation.
La deuxième partie introduit un nouveau contraste : les dissonances sont distillées suavement, illustration idéale de l’oxymore « dolce pena », tandis que dans la péroraison, Alessandrini nous fait savourer chaque mot jusqu’à l’extase.
…Le discours orchestral revêt une importance et surtout une diversité nouvelles : le paysage sonore et la peinture des affetti sont plus colorés et éloquents. Les violons non seulement restituent les pizzicatos et les modes de jeux alla Bartok que le compositeur spécifie, mais donnent aussi à entendre les arcate soave exprimant « la supplication et l’humilité, puis la mort » : le chef attend l’ultime extinction du son, faisant tirer les archets jusqu’à leur dernière extrémité….. Dennis Morrier

El Pais 21/03/2017: Gloria - ¿Cuándo podremos cantar de nuevo a la esperanza, a la alegría, a la magna labor de hacer un mundo nuevo?
Rinaldo Alessandrini abrió el Festival de Música Antigua de Sevilla con su Concerto Italiano y las monumentales Vísperas de Santa María….
Una alegría frenética, una esperanza exaltada, un vigor furioso movía a los músicos cuando cantaban la grandeza de nuestra especie en tiempos de Monteverdi. También era grande la envidia y el deseo de alcanzarles. ¿Cuándo podremos cantar de nuevo a la esperanza, a la alegría, a la magna labor de hacer un mundo nuevo? ¿Cuándo volveremos a creer en nuestras fuerzas? ¿Cuándo sonará nuestro Magnificat? - Félix De Azúa - Full article

The Adelaide Review 9/03/2017 : Concerto Italiano: L’Orfeo
During the two-hour performance, director and harpsichordist Rinaldo Alessandrini breathed vitality into the 410 year-old masterpiece. There was highly dramatic storytelling: …
The instrumentalist interspersed flashes of soaring buoyancy with moments of tempered serenity. The glory of old instruments was on full display: there were long-necked lutes, violins, a harp, various percussions, and two theorbos adding their distinct bass notes. Ena Grozdanic - Full article

LimelightMagazin 8/03/2017 : Monteverdi's L'Orfeo (Concerto Italiano, Adelaide Festival)
Musically mind-blowing – a highly talented, intelligent collaborative period music ensemble.
Throughout the opera, there are many recitatives, in which all of Concerto Italiano’s singers clearly, precisely and with great drama declaimed the opera’s text. The imaginative, colourful and complementary continuo accompaniment from the huge continuo section of two theorbo, two harpsichord, an organ, a regal, a harp and cello was also a delight. That they achieved such refined continuo accompaniment demonstrates their significant creative and listening ability as musicians, their understanding of the text, and the ability to work well and respectfully as a unified team…. Through Rinaldo Alessandrini's fine selection of singers, he has created an ensemble in which all the voices blended beautifully and where all knew how to work together and spark off each other, clearly communicating the music’s spirit in their faces and broader body language.
…The opera closed with an exuberant Moresca (a pantomime dance) in which one immediately witnessed the Concerto Italiano musicians’ obvious joy, enthusiasm and pleasure in performing Monteverdi’s inventive and stately music. Christopher Wainwright - Full article

Australian Stage 8/03/2017: L’Orfeo / Concerto Italiano
…, the variety of sonorities was really exciting, and gave the performance, already vibrant, a palette of colours worthy of the Italian, or for that matter the Adelaide, sunshine.
Throughout the performance the director, Rinaldo Alessandrini, was in complete control, no sooner bringing one passage to its careful cadence than launching into the next with ever renewed passion. Like all of the performers tonight, especially having prepared the edition, he knows the music backwards. More: like all of them, he lives the music.
This was as inspiring a concert as you are ever likely to hear. We have in Australia some absolutely first-rate baroque ensembles – I think especially of Pinchgut Opera in Sydney. But even by their standards, tonight’s concert was a revelation. What more do you want?  - Nicholas Routley – Full article

The Advertiser 8/03/2017 : Adelaide Festival 2017: Concerto Italiano
…In this magnificent performance by Concerto Italiano, the staggering boldness and originality of Monteverdi’s gesture was fully revealed. ..The instrumentalists, under the direction of Rinaldo Alessandrini, are equally familiar with the performing conventions of the time and sounded marvellous from start to finish.
…The only minor drawback of this performance was the lack of a libretto or at least a good synopsis of the plot in the program to help those who neglected to consult the internet beforehand; but such is the glory of Monteverdi’s exquisite music and the passionate intensity of this performance that it scarcely mattered. - Stephen Whittington – Full article

Radio Adelaide.edu 8/03/2017 : Concerto Italiano by Julie Cavanagh
Monteverdi’s opera L’Orfeo - This was a rare treat for Adelaide, the first Australian performance of this masterpiece and it was exclusive to the Adelaide Festival.
… We were treated to an interpretation that would have been very similar to that Monteverdi’s audiences may have seen in the 17th century, complete with instruments true to the period. The long necked theorbo, 2 of which Monteverdi specified had to be used in this work, were in fact developed specifically for opera, to give the extra bass notes needed.
The 11 vocalists were individually outstanding and collectively brilliant – the ensemble voices melded exquisitely with the instruments …
Director and Conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini, who founded the group over 30 years ago, conducted with vigor and tact and also added his considerable talents as a player to the performance with his contribution on the organ and harpsichord.
Sadly, this was a one-off event, but if you ever come across another performance of L’Orfeo by Concerto Italiano – don’t miss it!  - Julie Cavanagh - Full article

Backtrack 7/03/2017: Concerto Italiano’s classy L’Orfeo thrills in Adelaide’s Town Hall 
…Concerto Italiano impresses with its class. The ensemble is on a world tour honouring the 450th anniversary of Monteverdi’s birth and the 410th anniversary of the first performance of L’Orfeo. Since director Rinaldo Alessandrini, who also conducts, plays the harpsichord and the organ, founded Concerto Italiano in 1984, it has become one of the premier Baroque ensembles in the world. 
The twenty three piece ensemble of Baroque instruments, with Craig Marchitelli and Ugo Di Giovanni, showing obvious enjoyment in playing their theorbos, closeted next to the conductor, was a close-knit combination of precision and excellence. 
…This was a very authentic performance, capturing the vision of four hundred years ago. I found it an intensely satisfying experience. - Brian Angus - Full article

BroadwayWorld 24002/2017: What's Really Old is New Again, with POPPEA from Concerto Italiano at Carnegie Hall
Monteverdi's L'Incoronazione di Poppea  - … As soon as they started playing, and the first notes burst forth from the glorious soprano Miah Persson, who sang the dual roles of the goddess Fortuna and the seductress Poppea, I knew that all was right with the world--or, at least, for that moment, with these musicians, in this temple of music. 
.., the dozen singers and orchestra were able to conjure up the world of the Roman emperor Nero, his wife Ottavia, his mistress Poppea and her husband or lover Otho, with their assorted teachers, friends and servants. Concerto Italiano, led by Alessandrini from the harpsichord, gave an immaculate performance that put the singers--and Maestro Monteverdi--first, putting together an outstanding group of singers for the evening, …- Richard Sasanow - Full article

Stuff.co.nz 28/02/2016: NZ Festival Reviews: Concerto Italiano
Monteverdi  Vespers (1610)
….Rinaldo Alessandrini is one of today's  foremost Monteverdi experts and his Concerto Italiano is at the forefront of authentic music groups. … Alessandrini  paced the work with uncanny certainty and his instrumentalists showed the full glory of the old trombones  and cornets, the brilliant string playing and the surprising projection and tonal beauty of the two antiphonally placed theorbos, to perfection.
But what made this performance completely special was the singers. All of them had an Italian sound that was tingling. It is ridiculous to suggest that they sound like Italians of 400 years ago, but the distinct sound of the males in particular, and the passionate, fervent responses to the texts was unlike anything I have heard before in the Vespers.
This was quite something. - John Button - Full article

Sydney Morning Herald 24/02/2016: Remarkable exhibition of luminous work
…This interpretation of Monteverdi's luminous Marian Vespers by Concerto Italiano made a remarkable exhibition of period music singing and playing. Director Rinaldo Alessandrini has honed his version of this pivotal Renaissance masterpiece to the point where most surfaces gleam and the performers show unflappable security in their work. While some of the 10voices involved impressed, this listener's attention was attracted almost continuously by the 13 instrumentalists who brought an inspiring vitality to these 400-year-old pages.
Alessandrini cues nearly everything and shapes phrases with ardour. - Clive O'Connell- Full article

Gramophone.co.uk 6/11/2015 : CD JS BACH Preludes and Fugues
…, Rinaldo Alessandrini has in fact assembled an ingenious miscellany – a compendium often coupling same-key preludes and fugues never previously ‘attached’, but following a practice more common than one might imagine.
The principal pleasure of this ‘divertissement’ is how a simple conceit is eloquently identified in Alessandrini’s logical and attractive readings. Since the majority of these pieces are not highly wrought contrapuntal essays, the effect is often a sunny journey through Bach’s early melodic proofs and cathartic figuration, exquisitely caressed … Messe pour les couvents, is a rare but wonderfully satisfying concert piece, and so too those odd sketches of uncertain authorship refashioned by Alessandrini with stylistic astuteness.… A thoughtful volume of Bach vignettes, sensitively mined and performed with devotion. - Jonathan Freeman-Attwood

www.pizzicato.lu  30/04/2015 : Venezianische Pracht
CD Monteverdi: Vespri solenni per la Festa di San Marco
Alessandrini und sein ‘Concerto italiano’ wissen sehr wohl um den spirituellen Gehalt der Musik, aber ebenso, wie sie den Zuhörer sich besinnen lassen, nehmen sie ihn auch mit in ein dramatisches Erleben. ….Rinaldo Alessandrini bringt beide Facetten ohne Brüche zum Klingen, schafft eine Symbiose zwischen geistlicher und weltlicher Dimension, indem er sein Ensemble zu instrumentaler und besonders stimmlicher Virtuosität anhält und sehr schön die räumliche Disposition der Musik nutzt, die dem stolzen venezianischen Löwen – wie auf dem Cover zu sehen – Flügel verleiht. - Guy Engels
Rinaldo Alessandrini’s recording creates, in the magnificent Basilica of Mantua, an imagined Vespers service for San Marco assembled from various parts of the ‘Selva morale e spirituale’. He manages to combine the liturgical and the secular aspects in a dramatic and virtuosic way, thus conferring wings to the Venetian lion. - Guy Engels

www.telegraph.co.uk 20/10/2014 : CD Monteverdi: « Magnificent »
…Apart from the plainsong Latin antiphons, all the vocal music – motets, psalm-settings and the concluding Magnificat – are by Monteverdi, and they make a magnificent sound. …The glory of the eight-voice Magnificat caps it all, with Alessandrini finding both expressive breadth and immediacy through pungent instrumental playing and a mix of solo and ensemble voices that is absolutely first-rate, matching the spectacular with the poetic. The behind-the-scenes DVD offers some useful background as an adjunct to a superlative CD. - Geoffrey Norris

Gramophone Editor choice/ Record of the month october 2014: Monteverdi - Vespers for the Feast of St Mark
…The recording, made at the Basilica Santa Barbara in Mantua,…. It has been used as a venue for memorable recordings before, ….The resonant yet exquisitely transparent acoustic weaves its spellbinding magic on the single voices and accomplished instrumentalists of Concerto Italiano, who navigate their way skilfully through the grandeur, intimacy, rhetorical drama and textural subtlety that the music demands at the drop of a hat. Much of the music-making has perfect conversational qualities, especially in the interplay between the concertante solo voices and the blossoming textures of the ripieno groups (the climax to the Magnificat is thrilling stuff).…The recording itself is really the focus of attention, and Concerto Italiano’s distinguished performances constitute their most essential Monteverdian work in donkey’s years. - David Vickers

www.heraldscotland.com 23/08/2014
If there is such a species as the perfect concert, then Rinaldo Alessandrino and his Concerto Italiano came very close to it in the stupendous concert they gave on Thursday night as the closing event in in this year's glorious Greyfriars Kirk Festival series.
…with a touch of genius, Alessandrini also gave us a piece from each of four composers, Marini, Uccellini, Merula and Castella who created a north Italian school of composition and string playing at the time of Monteverdi.
…All this was wonderful enough, but you know what Alessandrini did with all these pieces by all these composers? With impressive skill and considerable intellectual command of the psychology of concert planning, he presented the whole thing as a continuum, with no bumps, no breaks, no transitions and everyone, invisible in movement, just being in the right place at the right time. It was fluid, seam-free, flawless in structure, presentation and performance. I can't speak for the capacity audience, but this was a great musical night in my own life, and a complete education. - Michael Tumelty

www.theguardian.com 22/08/2014: A finely shaped programme of Monteverdi songs
…The great appeal of Concerto Italiano's playing (and singing, though in this instance their instrumentalists outshone their vocalists) is how natural and unmannered it sounds. Take Alessandrini's harpsichord playing: his touch is simple, clean, spacious, full of buoyancy. He revels in Monteverdi's outlandish harmonies with a terrific sense of pacing and flux, but he limits extravagant ornamentation, which is no bad thing.Monteverdi's Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda - … it was the bold and stylish instrumental playing that gave this performance its brilliant vivacity. - Kate Molleson

www.wow247.co.uk 22/08/2014: Concerto Italiano at Greyfriars Kirk
Originally published in The Scotsman
The repertoire they’d chosen – a mix of Italian Renaissance instrumental pieces and Monteverdi madrigals – certainly wasn’t short on theatricality, but it was the care that the players and singers devoted to the music that really impressed. …it was the Monteverdi vocal music that really shone – tenors Gianluca Ferrarini and Luca Dordolo were unstoppable in an impetuous Perché fuggi tra salci, revelling in the exquisitely tuned intervals between their voices. The proto-opera Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda concluded things in a supple, vivid performance – the contributions from soprano Anna Simboli were limited but memorable for her disarmingly pure voice, heard earlier in an effusive Lettera amorosa. It was thrilling and insightful in equal measure. - David Kettle

www.sinfinimusic.com 13/08/2014 : CD Review Monteverdi
A familiar work comes up newly minted in this performance by Rinaldo Alessandrini, …
Italian conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini is renowned for leading blisteringly exciting, historically informed performances, and here he has created his own edition of a hypothetical Vespers service. …You can hear the detail of each individual voice and instrument (the antiphons spotlighting the sackbuts are particularly striking), but the church’s two-second echo adds fullness to the tutti sections, … The opening movement ‘Domine ad adiuvandum’, is captured in thrilling, sonic splendour and the motet ‘Beatus vir’ is a highlight, with its graceful, joyous interplay of voices and instruments. This is an immediate and expressive performance that will make you listen to this familiar work with fresh ears – don’t hesitate to add it to your collection. - Emma Baker

www.musicweb-international.com 20/06/2014: CD  CACCINI – L’Euridice
…Performing live with a magical cast of Italian singers, Rinaldo Alessandrini heightens the sense of drama as he encourages each singer to paint vivid characters. This is all captured under his musically tight and mesmerisingly theatrical direction. This compact opera, has been recorded to a high standard …A full, expressive performance by the Concerto Italiano not only enriches the music but forms a stable backdrop to the overall opera. Having performed much early music, from Monteverdi’s madrigals to the orchestral and operatic repertory of the eighteenth century, Concerto Italiano is a group of specialised and highly competent musicians who enhance every project with which they engage. - Lucy Jeffery

www.limelightmagazine.com.au 22/05/2014: CD Caccini - L'Euridice
…Alessandri’s version, here captured in a live recording from the Innsbruck Festival, also has the advantage of a more imaginative instrumental realisation with three twangling theorbos, a host of keyboard instruments and a beautifully rich double lyre. He also has the benefit of supremely creative singers: Silvia Frigato, Furio Zanasi, Sara Mingardo and Antonio Abate. …This disc is a highly recommended alternative. - Clive Paget

Diapason Mars 2014: CD Caccini – l’Euridice
….le Concerto Italiano rendant enfin à l’oeuvre son vrai visage: celle d’une oeuvre fondamentalement madrigalesque, vouée à la beauté du chant, …….L’écriture vocale flamboyante de Caccini, l’ornementation profuse qu’il développe est servie par une troupe de premier plan, sous la direction inspirée de Rinaldo Alessandrini. ….Les personnages “choraux” de bergers sont supérieurement tenus par les piliers du Concerto Italiano, dont les forces réunis nous offrent le plus festif “ballo” de noces et le plus poignant “tombeau” d’Euridice qu’il ait été donné d’entendre. Enfin, mention spéciale pour le groupe de continuo (pas moins de huit luths, harpes, violes et claviers), qui a su rendre vivante et colorée cette partition où aucun episode instrumental n’est véritablement proposé, et où l’accompagnement se réduit à la basse continue. - Denis Morrier

www.crescendo-magazine.be 11/03/2014 : CD Vivaldi - Concerti per archi II - Une référence supplémentaire pour les Concerti de Vivaldi
…le Concerto Italiano brille par une interprétation précise et juste. Dynamiques énergiques, encouragements des basses pour faire briller les cordes aiguës, continuo et accompagnement délicat. Les archets sont vifs et bénéficient d’une acoustique d’enregistrement exceptionnelle. Comme en un seul souffle, chaque forme est maîtrisée avec des attaques claires. Beaux contrastes entre parties rapides et lentes et souplesse dans le tempo. …. La qualité d’écoute entre les musiciens se révèle très vite par l’abondance des contrastes et expressions. La direction d’Alessandrini est souple, entreprenante et propose des ambiances proches de l’époque. Un enregistrement à placer dans sa discothèque, bref une nouvelle référence pour les Concerti de Vivaldi. - Ayrton Desimpelaere

www.thesundaytimes.co.uk 12/03/2014: Album of the week – Caccini :L’Euridice
…Alessandrini and his elite Italian Renaissance/Baroque specialists – Furio Zanasi as Orfeo, Sara Mingardo as Dafne and Proserpina, and Silvia Frigatie (left) as Euridice and Tragedy – give as much weight to Rinuccini’s words as to Caccini’s notes, but the entire « complesso » shines in the exquisite and thrilling madrigalian choruses. A fabulous disc. - Hugh Canning

www.musikzen.fr 14/02/2014: CD Vivaldi - Concerti per archi II - A consommer sur le pouce
…Rinaldo Alessandrini et le Concerto Italiano, chefs émérites en art baroque, en respectent l’esprit : fraîcheurs furtives, simplicités naturelles, c’est délicieux, c’est léger comme un risotto al nero di sepia, à consommer au pied du Rialto, insouciant, sans modération. - Albéric Lagier

 

 

 

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