Hana Blažíková: Vienna 1709
Ten arias by three Italian composers (and the Austrian Fux), all of whom were active in Vienna during the first decade or so of the 18th century. The title ‘Vienna 1709: Opera Arias’ is misleading on almost all counts: this broader survey includes music from several serenatas and oratorios dating from 1704 16. Most feature a pair of viols, and not much else except a basso continuo trio.
Sometimes the viols are equal partners in dialogue with the voice, as in the exquisite opener ‘Il goder un bel sembiante’ from Pietro Baldassari’s Il giudizio di Paride (1707), and the paired viols provide an expressive echo of the singer’s weeping in ‘Prole tenera’ from Ariosti’s oratorio Le profezie d’Eliseo nell’assedio di Samaria (1705). A few elaborate solo obbligato parts are played by Ensemble Tourbillon’s director Petr Wagner, such as the beguilingly spun conversation between virtuoso gamba and limpid voice in ‘Sento nel core’ from Fux’s heroic-pastoral La decima fatica d’Ercole (1710). A pair of oboes is added to a softly seductive sinfonia from Ariosti’s Marte placato (1707), and a chalumeau illustrates a pastoral allusion in ‘Non sdegnar’ from Fux’s Il mese di Marzo (1709). BlaΩíková’s limpidly stylish singing eloquently conveys the poetry and its sentiments. Such rarefied beauty and intelligence means that any risk of textural monotony is deftly side-stepped, and a treasure trove of fine music is revealed.