Philippe Jaroussky

J.C. Bach: La dolce fiamma

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With this CD of arias by Johann Christian Bach, male soprano Philippe Jaroussky edges further afield from the Baroque repertoire in which he has made his reputation, moving into the Classical period. A 2007 album, Carestini, was devoted to arias sung by the legendary castrato, including music by Gluck (from early in his career), Handel, Graun, and Hasse, and offered some excursions slightly beyond the Baroque, but J.C. Bach wrote the solidly Classical operas seria and concert arias represented here after Carestini's death, between 1760 and 1779. While Jaroussky is fully secure in this repertoire, bringing to it his typically immaculate and imaginative musicianship, impeccable intonation, and remarkable versatility, these arias don't offer the same kinds of opportunities for the dazzling virtuosic agility that characterize his performances of Vivaldi, or the heated emotional intensity of his Monteverdi. Nonetheless, Jaroussky fans who can amend their expectations, and anyone who loves the music of J.C. Bach, should be delighted by his expansion into the music of this era. Jaroussky is the consummate dramatic singer and finds and highlights the theatrical urgency of the arias. His singing expresses his obvious affection for and commitment to this music; each of the arias is marked by passion, whether tenderly yearning, as in Cara, la dolce fiamma, from Adriano in Siria; or furious, as in Tutti nemici, e rei, from the same opera; or both, as in the concert recitative and aria, Sentimi, non partir… Al mio bene. Jérémie Rhorer leads Le Cercle de l'Harmonie in exceptionally supple, graceful, and colorful performances of this music, which Jaroussky describes as "at once so subtle and so sparkling." Virgin's sound is open, clean, and lifelike. The CD can be used to access further material and performances online.

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