Claudio Monteverdi Scherzi musicali Cavina GalliClaudio Monteverdi

Scherzi Musicali

Emanuela Galli, soprano

La Venexiana

Claudio Cavina, conductor

Glossa, 2009

The aim of this album is too ambitious for its means. It is presented not only as a new recording of Claudio Monteverdi’s Scherzi musicali – focused on the songs for solo voice of the second volume, published in 1632 – but as «a vindication and at the same time an exaltation of the “light” Monteverdi: he who, with light step, moves around human sentiments, after having probed them intensely and profoundly in his madrigals; he who established a friendly relationship with the affectionate courtesy of the fashionable music» (Stefano Russomanno). The Scherzi are presented with pieces from other collections, as the Settimo Libro dei Madrigali and the Quarto scherzo delle ariose vaghezze, and the celebrated Lamento di Arianna from the 1608 opera «to counteract the light and playful atmosphere of the programme».

The ensemble La Venexiana and conductor Claudio Cavina are the best part of this recording. They perform the music with freshness and enliven the musical texture with sparkling colours, really realizing the promised lightness, but to this good performance does not correspond an equally remarkable solo voice. Soprano Emanuela Galli’s musicianship is good, her agility and intonation are fine, but her shrill voice and her coldness spoil everything. She seems at ease only in few lively pieces as Quel sguardo sdegnosetto, which is perhaps her best moment, but for the major part of the time there is not very much to hear. Even in the Lamento di Arianna, she simply portrays a pale and indifferent heroine without the slightest sign of sadness and pain.

Scherzi musicali is a mediocre recording, which can be heard out of curiosity, but without the hope to find anything remarkable apart from a fine orchestra that unfortunately is not enough to remedy to other flaws.