CALDARA La concordia de' pianeti / Fagioli, Marcon 4793356

The work is full of colour, lightness and richness. This, plus a series of bravura arias. The original cast were clearly virtuosos and the singers here do not disappoint, all give finely poised and technically assured performances. There's not a great deal of characterisation, the soloists get simply to sing a couple of very striking arias and none of the soloists, Delphine Galou, Veronica Cangemi, Ruxandra Donose, Franco Fagioli, Carlos Mena, Daniel Behle and Luca Tittoto, disappoints but Fagioli's high counter-tenor is particularly impressive, singing a role written for a castrato in the mezzo-soprano range . . . Throughout the performance Marcon brings out an appealing vitality which draws the performer in. This is far more than a dutiful recreation, but a lively and engaging performance which should delight both for the virtuoso moments and for the engaging quality of the music making.

La Cetra's relaxed trumpet flourishes, nonchalant rhythmical inégales and timely thundering timpani during the Introduzione instantly establish the attractiveness of Caldara's music. Daniel Behle navigates the tricky lines of Mercury's animated "Tal se gemma e rara e bella" with composure, and Veronica Cangemi is on fine form in Diana's "Ad essa io cederò" . . . Franco Fagioli's firm projective technique is displayed in Apollo's "Questo di cosi giocondo" . . . there's no disputing the qualities of Andrea Marcon's crisply directed performance.

. . . bravura arias by a first-rate cast . . . Franco Fagioli gives a flamboyant performance as the Renaissance tutelary deity . . . the best performances are Delphine Galou's infinitely gracious Venus, Carlos Mena's waspish, nicely understated Mars and Luca Tittoto's warmly avuncular Saturn. A fine recording . . .

Caldara's lush scoring and virtuosic writing make this music thrilling, his ritornellos in particular being artful in their balance of instrumental colours and textures against the vocalists' lines . . . Andrea Marcon conducts with crisp authority, giving high definition to the composer's motifs and rhythms. As Diana, Veronica Cangemi delivers eye-popping variations on her da capo aria's first section. The Jove summoned up by alto Ruxandra Donose combines muscle and emotional depth in an epic, six-minute aria. The instrumentalists are even more impressive: crazy keyboard realisations, strutting clarino passages and flouncy oboe entries vie with the vocal lines for attention . . . this is a glorious recording, showing how Caldera's music can unleash the imagination of its performers. It makes a strong case for reviving more of his compositions.

There are seven soloists, and the ones here are up to the job . . . the sound is adequately clear, and Baroque lovers will want to hear this music of the early 18th century that sounds nothing like Bach, Handel, Vivaldi, or Rameau.

Andrea Marcon directs with buoyant, springy rhythms. I assume it's also he who has coached the soloists into a natural, varied inflection of the Italian recitatives -- an effect enhanced by appoggiaturas at every conceivable opportunity -- and imaginatively repointed the reprises of the da capo arias . . . Veronica Cangemi sings Diana in a shiny, vibrant soprano with good line and intensity . . . [in Saturno's music,] Luca Tittoto's firm bass is a pleasure to hear. He's particularly adept at integrating the appoggiaturas into the narrative and projects a dignified character . . . The recorded sound is vivid, with prominent continuo strummings adding bite to the instrumental sonority.

. . . [der argentinische Countertenor Franco Fagioli leiht dem Gott Apollon] seinen virtuosen, golden funkelnden Alt.

. . . eine höchst farbige musikalische Umsetzung mit üppiger Orchesterbesetzung, zu der auch Pauken und Trompeten gehören . . . Andrea Marcon kann mit Franco Fagioli, Carlos Mena und Daniel Behle aufwarten und bringt mit "La Cetra" auch die instrumentale Raffinesse zum Klingen.

Andrea Marcon und das La Cetra-Barockorchester befeuern diese Musik mit Temperament, rhythmischer Verve und tänzerischem Elan, der alles Steife aus dem gebotenen Zeremoniellen verbannt . . . [Stimmlich] zeigt sich Kontratenor-Kollege Carlos Mena als Mars mit lockerem Kehlkopf-Jogging, ebenmäßigem Timbre und geschicktem Registerwechel in die Brustregion . . . Ruxandra Donoses majestätischer Mezzosopran verleiht Jupiter sonor strömende Größe und herrscherliche Gelassenheit, Veronica Cangemi als Diana versteht sich auf preziösen Ziergesang ebenso wie auf leidenschaftlichere Akzente . . . Tenor Daniel Behle [turnt] durch die quecksilbrigen Mercurio-Koloraturen, Luca Tittoto gibt tieftöner Saturn gebührendes Bassgewicht, sein dunkel-kerniger Ton vermag sich aber auch zu baritonalem Schmelz zu lichten.

Das Basler Barockorchester "La Cetra", mit farbenreichem Continuo, klingt prachtvoll, musiziert vital und packt auch mal kräftig zu. Sieben handverlesene Gesangssolisten bilden ein ausgezeichnetes Ensemble. Vor allem die Kontratenöre Franco Fagioli und Carlos Mena brillieren als mitreissende Koloratur-Akrobaten . . . Delphine Galou und Veronica Cangemi geben Venus und Diana eine amüsante Spur Zickigkeit. Die Altistin Ruxandra Donose ist ein sonorer Jupiter, souverän singt auch der "Cetra"-Chor.