La Scena Musicale

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Sospiro: Alessandro Grandi Complete Arias

Alessandro Grandi Complete Arias
Bud Roach, tenor and Baroque Guitar
Musica Omnia MO 0506 (70 m 34 s)

In this Verdi and Wagner year, music in the grandest of scale can be exhausting. So, a CD featuring a repertoire that is the polar opposite in period and style is a welcomed discovery. This is the premiere recording of the complete arias volume III (1626) by Italian Baroque master Alessandro Grandi (1586 - 1630). Canadian tenor Bud Roach sings and accompanies himself on the guitar.

The 23 arias are all dispatched with exemplary style, taste, and beauty of tone by Roach. Given the aesthetics of the Italian Baroque, one must not expect a grand musical, stylistic or emotional range - the arias tend to be in minor keys and mostly about unrequited love.

Roach's voice is a "haute-contre" - sweet in timbre, light in weight and possessing excellent flexibility, ideal for this repertoire.  A haute-contre is not a countertenor, as even in the top range there is no hint of a true falsetto; instead, it is a "voix-mixte."

For baroque fans, this is a terrific disc, beautifully rendered, with a recorded sound that is warm and clear. Those new to this repertoire may want to sample a few pieces at a time rather than hearing all 23 arias in one sitting, as there is an inevitable sameness. On the nicely produced booklet is a very well written and informative essay by Roach. Highly recommended for Baroque fanciers. JOSEPH SO 

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