A. Scarlatti Venere a Adone: Il giardino d'amore
This is the second version on disc of Alessandro Scarlatti's serenata to have come my way in the last 12 months. And, in spite of its age, it is the more satisfying of the two. The other, directed by Rene Clemencic (Accord/Pinnacle) is marred not by the singing but by the tiresome chattering of birds introduced to Adonis's aria, ''Piu non m'alletta e piace il vago usignoletto'', by a singularly inept piece of editing which all but destroys the dramatic continuity and by a remarkably unhelpful booket. In these respects and in many others too, this elderly issue is much to be preferred coming as it does from a period when Archiv Produktion served the interests of Renaissance and baroque music uncommonly well.
Catherine Gayer makes a spirited, fresh sounding Adonis and Brigitte Fassbaender as Venus is superb throughout; Venus's ''Augelletti, si cantate'' has an almost irresistible allure and her radiant duet with Adonis at the conclusion of the work is something to treasure. The instrumental accompaniment is excellent of its kind and of its vintage, with a notable contribution from Hans-Martin Linde on the sopranino recorder. This is, in a word, enlightened music-making which brings a ravishing score to life affectionately and convincingly. Excellent recorded sound and a considerable adornment to Archiv Galleria's otherwise arbitrary and mainly disappointing selection of reissues. Strongly recommended.'