I Dilettanti

dilettantiI Dilettanti is an album from Catalan countertenor Xavier Sabata accompanied by members of the Greek baroque group Latinitas Rostra  with Markellos Chryssicos at the harpsichord.  The works on the disk are all from the late 17th and early 18th century and are by, as the title might suggest, people who aren’t primarilyknown as composers such as the singer  Vincenzo Benedetti and the nobleman/adventurer Emanuele d’Astorga.  The format of the pieces too is relatively unfamiliar.  All but two tracks are chamber cantatas, probably intended for domestic entertainment rather than theatre or concert hall.  The exceptions are two arias from Ruggieri’s Armida Abbandonata though as they are presented here, like all the other works, just basso continuo accompaniment they don’t sound obviously different.

That perhaps is the problem with the album.  An hour of very civilized baroque music for countertenor and basso continuo is likely a bit much for all but the early music fanatic even when presented as stylishly and sensitively as here.  It all starts to sound a bit the same after a while!  The exception is the final track; Marcello’s Lucrezia.  This is a longer and meatier piece than the others with some blood and guts (literally and figuratively) and is well woth listening to.

It’s very well reccorded with very natural sound and the documentation is impressive, including texts and French and English translations.  Perhaps more one for the specialist or the hard core countertenor fan than the general audience?

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