Vibrant Venice - Bovi

Vibrant Venice - Bovi

trptk  TTK0116

Stereo/Multichannel Hybrid

Classical - Vocal

Works by Porpora, Vivaldi, Jommelli

Lotte Bovi (mezzo)
l'Ora Blu

Venice, during the time of Vivaldi, Jommelli, and Porpora, was a city pulsating with musicality: everyone made music, lived from opera to opera, the baker delivered his bread singing, people spontaneously sang songs on the streets. In short, Venice was a bustling city, vibrating with the most beautiful tones and harmonies, produced by its residents and composers.

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DSD recording
Reviews (1)

Review by Adrian Quanjer - March 2, 2024

This new TRPTK album pays tribute to a period when musical life in the ‘Queen of the Adriatic’ or ‘City of Water’ was at its summit. The most famous of them all, Antonio Vivaldi, is partnered with two lesser-known composers, Nicola Porpora and Niccolò Jommelli, speaking much of the same quality language nonetheless. The result is breathtaking.

In her liner notes, the Mezzo Soprano, Lotte Bovi, writes about male and female opera roles and voices in those days. I must admit that some of it is new to me. However, had I not known about these things and taking, therefore, Lotte’s singing at face value, I’d have noted the fabulous range of her voice. Just the kind Vivaldi and his contemporaries would no doubt have appreciated for their vocal output; a voice that would have solved some of the existing social constraints.

Who would have thought that L’Ora Blù is not an Italian band? Here, too, I was, by the sound of it, convinced that these players were Italian, and maybe even from Venice. Not that it matters, but this group of baroque-trained musicians are from The Netherlands. Be they Dutch or having studied there. The liner notes are silent about the group's name, but seniors among us will surely remember Françoise Hardy’s 1969 chanson L'ora blu (L'heure bleue). Perhaps a name for the occasion? That, too, doesn’t really matter. The content is more important than the flag under which the boat sails. Their objective is “an expressive, vibrant interpretation of the pieces recorded on this album”. And that is exactly what they have done with a complement of 6 Violins, a Viola (Violoncello da spalla), a Cello and a Double bass, making up the strings, supported by - as needed - a Lute, theorbo & baroque guitar, Organ and a (natural) Horn.

Nicola Porpora, born in Naples, spent some valuable time in Venice, where he composed his cantata ‘Salve Regina’ in a style that conforms to the (religious) taste of the time. After an orchestral introduction, flawlessly recorded in a way that it almost jumps out of the speakers in all its musical glory, I couldn’t believe my ears when Lotte Bovi joined in with her impressive voice and vocal span, delivering an emotional treat, religion obliging, with such a delicate beauty. The balance between musicians and soloist is optimal, for which the recording engineer has no doubt lent a stimulant hand.

One cannot think of a better lead-in to some of the following Vivaldi’s vocal masterpieces, changing the mood to a lighter-footed, ‘La verità in cimento’, RV 739, but all the same distinguished nature. Lotte’s jubilant voice, this time not in a male but in a radiating female role, hovers over the orchestra which, indeed, plays with an expressive vibrant pulse. Without showing any favour for one or the other, I furthermore liked Lotte’s lovingly controlled voice in the aria ‘Mentre dormi amor fomenti’‘ from Vivaldi’s l’Olimpiade’, RV 725, whilst she handsomely demonstrated her exiting virtuosity that haunted me in the Aria ‘Armatae face et anguibus’ from Vivaldi’s Juditha Triumphans, RV 644.

Lotte Bovi’s imposingly wide vocal control comes once again to the fore in Niccolò Jomelli’s ‘Betulia liberata’ with which this extraordinarily well-chosen programme draws to a close.

Not just for lovers of this genre, but for all those who appreciate exceptional musical quality, this is a release that in my opinion should not be missed. After my accolades about the soloist, I must extend my greatest compliments to the musicians. Their role is much more than just accompaniment. They have provided the fundament on which this Vibrant Venture could turn into a joy to listen to, time after time.

Blangy-le-Château, Normandy, France

Copyright © 2024 Adrian Quanjer and


Sonics (Multichannel):

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