“L’Arte di diminuire” – review American Record Guide
A big thank you to American Record Guide for their great review of “L’Arte di diminuire”!
“…. she [de Lera] saves her breathtaking ‘Tarantella’ for the end.”
“She shows such facility with the style of the period, as though she had digested all of the many exercises in Rognoni’s Selva de Varii Passaggi (1620) to produce them.”
Art of the Diminution L’Estro d’Orfeo/ Leonor de Lera, v Challenge 72843—69 minutes
L’Arte di Diminuire is the Baroque art of creating solo variations on well-known songs, dance grounds, madrigals, motets, and the like, usually by Renaissance masters like Palestrina, Arcadelt, and Rore. Creating virtuosic diminutions (diminuzioni) was an improvisers’ art, as method books from around the turn of the 17th Century clearly show. But some of these craftsmen, like Francesco Rognoni, Girolamo dalla Casa, Biagio Marini, Marco Uccellini, Barolome de Selma y Salaverde, and Girolamo Kapsberger would also publish their diminutions, which served as illustrations for others. Following their example, even members of L’Estro d’Orfeo try their hand at it, performing their diminutions between the 17th Century ones. The creative passage work (passaggi) on display in these pieces is quite astounding. De Lera starts the program with her diminution on Palestrina’s motet ‘Descendi in Hortum Meum’. She follows up with three more later in the program: on Palestrina’s ‘Pulchra es Amica Mea’, on the aria ‘Usurpator Tirano’ by Giovanni Felice Sances, and she saves her breathtaking ‘Tarantella’ for the end. She shows such facility with the style of the period, as though she had digested all of the many exercises in Rognoni’s Selva de Varii Passaggi (1620) to produce them. ‘Usurpator Tirano’ is particularly well suited to making diminutions because of its repetitive structure—an aria based on a repeating ground. The other members of L’Estro d’Orfeo contribute by joining De Lera in consort or by taking the role of virtuoso. There is a lovely ‘Sonata Quinta Sopra un’Aria Francese’ by Salomone Rossi. De Lera’s duet with violinist Ignacio Ramal on Uccellini’s ‘Aria Decima Quarta a doi Violini Sopra “La mia Pedrina”‘ is particularly beautiful. Josep Maria Marti plays the continuo parts, but he is the soloist for Kapsberger’s ‘Folia’. Rodney Prada executes diminutions to breathtaking perfection in Rognoni’s ‘Vestiva I Colli. Modo Difficile per Suonar Alla Bastarda’. And harpsichordist Javier Nuñes shines in his diminution of Arcadelt’s madrigal ‘O Felici Occhi Miei’. LOEWEN