Elena Mosuc Flavio Montalla L'amore è poesiaElena Mosuc
L’amore è poesia
Vocalise for soprano and orchestra composed by Flavio Motalla

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
John Scott, conductor

Sony, 2016

L’amore è poesia (“love is poetry”) features the Romanian soprano Elena Mosuc in the world premiere recording of a song cycle for soprano and orchestra composed by Flavio Motalla, a contemporary composer, arranger and orchestrator on dozen of films of any genre in addition to symphonic works – and this collection of four vocalises and one interlude, of course.

He summarizes his work with these words: «the various pieces were written over the course of nearly a decade, and at very different stages of my life. But they all are connected with each other by the underlying theme set forth in the title. The compositions feature a wordless soprano, even though I was urged by several of my friends to use a libretto at first. However, it occurred to me early on that the music could be vocal but without relying on words. Not only might a written text present a distraction for the audience, but even more so its rhythmic pattern would have interfered too much with the organic flow of the composition. Also, given the subject matter, I strongly felt that the music should speak for itself. The pieces are written in a very lush romantic style, both lyrical in expression and epic in scale. At times notably nostalgic, sometimes opulent but never cloying. The soaring melodies are clearly a nod to the likes of Erich Wolfgang Korngold and Max Steiner, whose film music from the golden era of Hollywood has always been an inspiration».

I have to confess that at first the idea to realize an entire cycle without words perplexed me. I am not a great fan of vocalises and I always find difficult to concentrate on them, even when (just to make an example) a great soprano sings Rachmaninov’s famous Vocalise. Thus I approached L’amore è poesia with some reservations due to my personal taste, even if the presence of Elena Mosuc made me curious… but I have to say that this album did not displeased me and I ended to consider that also the idea to compose for voice without text was not a bad one, since almost everyone has written and composed something about love and the subject is exhausted. The vocalise, instead, not only permits to avoid this inconvenient, but allows to understand immediately the message, without the intermediation of words. I think this is charming.

The choice of Elena Mosuc as soloist and of John Scott as conductor of the Royal Philharmonic orchestra is a lucky one. Mosuc’s voice suits perfectly the romantic atmosphere of L’amore è poesia in all its nuances, from the happiest to the saddest ones. Her crystalline, warm and sweet voice gives us an intense and heartfelt interpretation of this “poem without words” and this music reaches the heart of the listener without efforts. Scott, for his part, directs his orchestra in a way that makes the music flow and gives it a lyrical character.