Vedo il ciel

Amadeo (Universal Austria) 476 300 0
1 CD
full price
Recorded in 2004.
Released in 2004.

- Arias and overtures from Samson, Jephtha, Hercules, Messiah,and La Resurrezione

Lydia Vierlinger, alto
Wiener Motettenchor
Capella Leopoldina (on period instruments)
Director: Jörg Zwicker

(Recorded at the Hofmusikkapelle Wien.)




Despite having the conductor Jörg Zwicker’s excellent booklet essay translated into English, it seems that Universal never intended for this recording to reach much beyond Austria. In some ways that is understandable: the recital programme is not striking to a general audience, and the performers – all new to me – are presumably not well known enough outside Austria. Lydia Vierlinger has a firm alto voice, and clearly has fondness for this repertoire. It shows in her execution of melodic phrases, rhythms and dramatic moods, and her performance of ‘Return, O God of Hosts’ (here bizarrely just called ‘Return’) demonstrates that she has admirable sensitivity for Handel’s effects with timing and textures. It also features some nice singing from the Wiener Mottenchor.

It is a pity that after four excellently performed arias from La Ressurezione all the rest of this disc is devoted to English oratorio because, unfortunately, Vierlinger does not seem entirely comfortable singing in English. The pronunciation is generally fine, but the poetry lacks sufficient purpose and personality. However, ‘Piangete’, ‘Naufragando’ and ‘Augelletti’ are sung better here than on some well known complete recordings of La Resurrezione. It is also good to see a singer recognising that ‘Vedo il ciel’ is a stunning recital aria: it launches this disc off to a terrific start. Capella Leopoldina plays very persuasively: the overtures from Hercules and Jephtha are given solidly satisfying performances. The oboes in the plaintive middle section of ‘Naufragando’ are superb. Their polished and expressive playing is not at all like the harsh abrasiveness of their local colleagues Concentus Musicus Wien. Jörg Zwicker supervises sensible, alert and honest performances.

It is brave to mix opera and oratorio together on a recital, but in order for the mixture to work the programme needs to be much more varied and less dependent on core repertoire (three arias from Samson and another three from Messiah is one or two too many from each). Both soloist and orchestra are impressive at times, but it is not enough to make this disc clamour for wider attention.

© David Vickers - October 2005

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