This CD is entirely devoted to the music of the early Baroque Italian composer, poet and organist, Carlo Milanuzzi. During his lifetime, Milanuzzi’s fame spread far and wide; today, however, he is shrouded in obscurity. The artists hope that this recording – the first dedicated to his music – will contribute to the rediscovery of one of the most significant Italian musicians of the 17th century.
Indeed, it seems that Milanuzzi enjoyed a veritable ‘pop star’ status back in his day. In addition to masses, motets and psalms, he also wrote nearly 200 songs (brought together in nine books entitled Le Ariose Vaghezze which were published between 1622 and 1643), works which reveal him to be one of the most progressive monodists of his generation, clearly intent on reaching as wide an audience as possible. The arias to be found in the nine volumes, 13 of which feature on this recording, are mostly short, tuneful pieces in the style that was rapidly gaining popularity in northern Italy in the 1620s. They are complemented by instrumental dances written in guitar ‘alfabeto’ notation, ‘expanded’ on this recording by way of a larger ensemble.
Performing the arias is Baroque specialist and mezzo-soprano Lucia Sciannimanico, who has appeared in festivals across Europe and worked with renowned conductors such as Nicholas Cleobury and Alessandro De Marchi. She is joined on the recording by the Cappella di Santa Maria degli Angiolini, directed by esteemed lutenist and Brilliant Classics regular Gian Luca Lastraoili.
- Recorded in June 2012 at the Conservatorio di Santa Maria degli Angeli, Florence.
- Carlo Milanuzzi, although largely forgotten nowadays, was in his time, 17th century Italy, a genuine celebrity, having gained pop-star status with his large output of songs and dances.
- His songs (or arias) are short and tuneful, the melody singing of love, joy and beauty. The dances are crisp, bucolic and sharply rhythmical, evoking popular scenes of festivity and merrymaking.
- Mezzo soprano Lucia Sciannimanico (a female pendant of Marco Beasley) perfectly captures the popular and sometimes even vulgar (in the literal sense of the word, “of the people”) character of this fascinating music, which here appears for the first time on disc.
- The dances are played with vigour and zest, by a large group of early music instruments.
- Contains a note on the composer, artist biographies and sung texts.