"Splendore di Roma"
Music of Kapsberger, Michi, Mazzocchi, Landi and Rossi
Johanette Zomer, soprano; Fred Jacobs, theorbo.
CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 19903 (F) (DDD) TT: 57:12 (5 channel)

SHOSTAKOVICH: Sonata in D minor for Cello and Piano Op. 40. PROKOFIEV: Sonata for Cello and Piano in C, Op. 119. BRITTEN: Sonata for Cello and Piano in C, Op. 65.
Peter Wispelwey, cellist; Dejan Lazic, pianist
CHANNEL CLASSICS CCS SA 20003 (F) (DDD) TT: 69:31 (5 channel)

Here are two more splendid multi-channel SACDS both recorded with the performers in front, much hall sound from other channels.. Cellist Wispelwey plays three major sonatas for his instrument by major 20th Century composers, strongly and sensitively accompanied by Dejan Lazic. Wispelwey describes the Shostakovich as "a wolf roaming through a city," the Prokofiev as "a Rolls Royce in the Russian countryside," and the Britten as "like a unicorn in the back yard," like "dancing on a volcano." His rich sound and impeccable intonation are heard to advantage in these spikey scores. The recording venue is highly resonant, performers in front with much reflected sound. Splendore di Roma is "splendor" on a very intimate scale, a collection of secular or religious songs for voice accompanied by theorbo, which is a large lute with a richer sound. Johann Hieronymus Kapsburger (ca. 1580-1651) was a virtuoso of the instrument and composed many works for voice and/or theorbo, nine of which are included on this CD, along with music by other composers of the time: Orazio Michi, Domenico Mazzocchi, Stefano Landi and Luigi Rossi. All of it is gentle and refined with Johannette Zomer's clear soprano and Fred Jacobs' fine paying of the theorbo beautifully captured by Channel Classics' engineers. Complete texts in Italian and English are provided. Playing time is less than an hour. It's unfortunate this label's SACDs are issued at premium price ($24.99 list).

R.E.B. (November 2003) (NEXT SURROUND REVIEW)