Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke

Lettere Amorose

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AllMusic Review by Stephen Eddins

Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozená's collection of vocal solos (plus a few instrumental tracks) from the early Baroque, Lettere Amorose, "Love Letters," is a delight. The recital includes some familiar pieces like d'India's Cruda Amarilli, Monteverdi's Sì dolce è il tormento, and Sanz's giddy dance, Canarios, but consists largely of repertoire that's more obscure but no less engaging. Merula's lullaby chaconne Hor ch'è tempo di dormire is a jewel, gorgeously idiosyncratic and deeply emotional. Caccini's erotic Odi, Euterpe, 'I dolce canto could be mistaken for mature Monteverdi at his most mischievous, but it dates from 1601 or 1602, when Monteverdi was at an early stage in his career. A real standout of the album is Strozzi's L'Eraclito amoroso: Udite amanti, which alternates sections of extravagantly expressive recitative with a ravishingly lyrical chaconne. Kozená easily has the technique to make the music glow and the dramatic gifts to bring it movingly to life. Her sharply characterized interpretations of the songs make each of them seem as fully realized and potent as a short operatic scene. Her voice has the burnished warmth of a mezzo, but can gleam when she soars into her upper register, and throughout she maintains an exquisite purity. Private Musicke, an ensemble of plucked and bowed strings led by Pierre Pitzl, beautifully matches Kozená's performances with inventive, understated, and expressive accompaniments. Deutsche Grammophon's sound is clean and wonderfully realistic. This is an album that should have strong appeal for lovers of Baroque music, or anyone who loves exceptional singing.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
1 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 02:55 Amazon
2 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 02:56 Amazon
3 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 03:29 Amazon
4 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 03:27 Amazon
5 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 01:41 Amazon
6 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 08:42 Amazon
7 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 03:15 Amazon
8 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 02:44 Amazon
9 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 04:22 Amazon
10 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 02:57 Amazon
11 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 01:43 Amazon
12 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 03:17 Amazon
13 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 03:28 Amazon
14 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 01:48 Amazon
15 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 07:55 Amazon
16 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 02:54 Amazon
17 Magdalena Kožená / Private Musicke 03:53 Amazon
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