Alessandro Parisotti put together three volumes of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century arias in Rome in the 1880s, and called the whole series Arie antiche
. These three books have since become the bane of almost every student singer's life, since their simplicity makes them ideal teaching fodder--but the same quality also makes them fearsomely difficult to perform convincingly. Singers often begin a recital with a couple just to prove that they can. Cecilia Bartoli takes the unusual step of performing a recital entirely made up of these pieces--and finds hitherto unsuspected riches in them, without ever sacrificing the simplicity necessary for stylistic accuracy. There is little here of her jaw- dropping coloratura technique, and much more of her ability to let the different colours of her wonderful voice tell the story of the song. She transforms a classroom war-horse like "Caro mio ben", for example, into a moment of pure spiritual intensity and longing. And she makes Vivaldi's portrait of a spurned wife ("Sposa son") truly heartbreaking. This is wonderful singing. --Warwick Thompson
The chart-topping collection of 18th-century Italian songs ( arie antiche ) arranged by the great Parisotti, and starring the lovely Ms. Bartoli accompanied by Gyorgy Fischer on piano. Includes five songs by Scarlatti; Vivaldi's Sposa Son Disprezzata , and songs by Caccini, Caldara, Paisiello, Pergolesi and others. A London recording.