Thursday, 27 August 2015

Kapsberger etc. - Labirinto d'Amore - Dunford/Reinhold

Rating: 5/5

A lovely disc

This is a lovely disc by two very fine musicians. Kapsberger was a great Italian lutenist who was composing and performing at the transition from the more modal Renaissance style to the sort of music we now recognise as Baroque, and elements of both are evident here in his solo lute pieces. These are interspersed on the disc with lute songs by Strozzi, Caccini, Monteverdi, and Merula.

The music is excellent, and really brought to life by the performances here. Thomas Dunford is a terrific lutenist with a superb technique which allows him really to express the emotion and depth of these pieces. It is fascinating to compare his approach to that of Paul O'Dette: Dunford takes a fairly rhythmically free approach, giving the pieces a more improvisatory, Renaissance feel to me, while O'Dette has more of a solid Baroque pulse to his playing. Both work extremely well - I have loved the O'Dette disc for years and this is a terrific new take which I am coming to love equally.

The songs are also lovely; Anna Reinhold's beautiful mezzo suits them perfectly and she sings with great style and engagement with the texts. As a programme it works very well indeed.

Alpha make their usual beautiful job of both recording and presentation and this is a very fine disc all round, I think. If you have any interest at all in the music of this period, don't hesitate - this is a real cracker.

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