16 April 2014 at 3.21pm | 2 Comments
Max Emanuel Cencic - Rokoko (Decca)
The spectacular rise of the countertenor over the last decade has seen several float to the top of the superstar recording stakes. Pre-eminent among them is ex-Vienna Boys Choir member Max Emanuel Cencic who, after a slew of releases on various labels, has now signed exclusively to Decca. His first release for them is Rokoko, an album of dramatic arias by the often overlooked composer Adolf Hasse. Cencic is a bold singer who takes risks but has the technique to pull them off. Hasse’s arias span the full dramatic range, from plaintive lament to heroic coloratura, and Cencic is in spectacular voice and command throughout. It’s muscular, virile singing, and the disc is hugely recommendable.
British countertenor Iestyn Davies also enjoys an extensive and acclaimed recording history. His latest release, Your Tuneful Voice, has him take on a range of arias from oratorios by Handel. Exquisitely accompanied by The King’s Consort and with contributions from soprano Carolyn Sampson, this finds Davies at his most congenial. Far less the obvious showman than Cencic, Davies sings with a quiet and direct sincerity that communicates superbly both text and music. Virtuosity is there when required, always at the service of the musical line and weighted with dramatic intention. A very beautiful recital, well worth adding to your collection.
Krassimira Stoyanova - Verdi (Orfeo)
Soprano Krassimira Stoyanova has come late to the Verdi celebrations. Better late than never in this instance as I’d rate this as the best soprano Verdi recital to appear for some time. The repertory choices may seem a little safe, but they represent where Stoyanova’s voice and temperament are most suited. She offers surprising bite in Aida’s daunting 'Ritorna Vincitor' (she takes the role on for the first time in Munich next season), but is able to use her luminous voice to magnificent effect in arias from Il Trovatore, Don Carlo and Otello (among others). She has the style, a voice of immense beauty and flexibility, and a peerless technique. Simply titled Verdi, this is a disc of quality and integrity.
What recently released recordings would you recommend?