Monteverdi – La dolce vita
Dorothee Mields, soprano
Wolfgang Katschner, conductor
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi, 2017
The recording La Dolce Vita focuses on the music that Claudio Monteverdi composed in the last years of his life. It includes works written for the cities of Mantua, Cremona and Venice and compositions that the composer, who was also an astute businessman, reprinted in Venice at that time. For the most part, the tracks feature solo singing (also in the case of madrigals originally written for several voices). Some orchestral pieces are used as “interludes”. They are performed by soprano Dorothee Mields together with the Lautten Compagney conducted by Wolfgang Katschner.
La Dolce Vita: the Performance
Overall, the programme of La Dolce Vita features famous pieces by their own right (as Lamento d’Arianna) or excerpts from well-known and larger works (as the Vespro della Beata Vergine). The fact that they have been chosen among sacred and secular compositions and that they make possible to communicate a wide range of moods and feelings allow soprano Dorothee Mields to use her expressive skills widely.
Mields’s performance is remarkable from many points of view. First of all, she has a wonderful voice, with rich tone, crystalline timbre and homogeneity. Her high notes are bright and luminous. She uses her instrument with flexibility and intelligence and she is outstanding not only for her impeccable agility, for the lightness of her phrasing, but also for her attention to the text, of which she pronounces the words with perfect, clear diction. Her performance is therefore committed not only for the musical point of view, but also for its expression and she is able to stress the many, different moods of the madrigals and songs, from the grace of Io son pur vezzosetta to the intense Con che soavità to finish with the radiant solemnity of the Confitebor and of O bone Jesu. Definitely, Mields’s performance is one of the best that these pieces have ever had.
Conduction and Orchestra
Next to this amazing soprano, conductor Wolfgang Katschner and the Lautten Compagney perfectly round off this amazing recording. The ensemble plays with great skill and elegance, always giving prominence to the brilliant and vivid sound of Monteverdi’s music.
Katschner is not only the conductor of La Dolce Vita, but he also selected the pieces. He unfailingly finds the right tempo and is able to create the right atmosphere for every piece. The few orchestral works (as Come dolce hoggi, Zefiro torna and above all the Ballo from L’Orfeo) are noteworthy for their exquisite taste and tone which makes the music sparkle.
This is a really enjoyable recording of Monteverdi’s music. Differently from another recent recording as Scherzi musicali, here you can really appreciate the amazing colours and the different and yet always precious nuances of this precious music. The most significant features are the virtuosity of a fine singer as Dorothee Mields and Wolfgang Katschner’s lively conduction. In the end, they will not disappoint the listener.