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Harmonia Mundi
HMG 501778

Code-barres / Barcode: 0794881851928

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Reviewer: Rob Barnett

A generous anthology built around arias that may have been sung by the famous castrato Carlo Broschi detto Farinelli (1707-1782). Feted in his own time, his sound is here speculatively recreated by a mezzo. The arias are by Porpora, Hasse, Broschi and Giacomelli. Riccardo Broschi's steady reflective aria Qual guerriero from Idaspe is particularly moving with long note-lines seemingly built for a singer freed from the need for catching breath. This also rises to emotional heights unusual for those times as in the meltingly lovely writing at 3:10 onwards. By contrast Giacomelli's aria Mancare, Dio from Adriano in Siria is comparatively conventional though most beautifully shaped by Genaux. At the centre of the disc sequence we hear an instrumental work: Galuppi's Concerto a 4 in C minor which with its nicely pointed dynamic contrasts, distancing and bustle is well worth hearing. Johann Hasse's Per questo from Artaserse is temperate and playfully shaped with some nice instrumental filigree to tickle the ear. Genaux redeems Giacomelli with the dramatics and stage stuff of the aria Quell'usignolo from Merope. The avian idylls of the second section of the aria compete with serious Vivaldian pointing and end the disc well. One aspect of this series with which take issue is the inclusion of extracts from critical reception of the discs on their original issue. What is the point of this except in some way that we do not want to dwell on to confirm the purchaser's wise choice in buying. Certainly since these extracts are in the booklets they can do nothing to encourage purchase. A small and unnecessary irritation.

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