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Laura Catrani makes use of solo voice to discover Dante’s animals with music from three modern Italian composers

Vox in Bestia: Gli animali della divina commedia - Fabrizio de Rossi Re, Matteo Franceschini, Alessandro Solbiati; Laura Catrani; Stradivarius

Vox in Bestia: Gli animali della divina commedia – Fabrizio de Rossi Re, Matteo Franceschini, Alessandro Solbiati; Laura Catrani; Stradivarius
Reviewed 1/8/2022 (★★★)

Italian soprano Laura Catrani explores the beasts Dante’s Divine Comedy through music written for her solo voice by three modern Italian composers, to dazzling, virtuosic and difficult impact

Luciano Berio’s Sequenza III, written in 1965 for soprano Cathy Berberian, helped outline a complete style of unaccompanied vocal work that used the voice’s many different expressive modes in addition to singing. Berberian would create her personal response to this in 1966 with Stripsody, an equally virtuoso work however one which merged virtuosic onomatopoeic sounds with concepts from comedian strips.

As a younger pupil on the Conservatoire in Milan, soprano Laura Catrani studied Berio’s Sequenza III and it quickly grew to become her piece de resistance [see her performance on YouTube] and she or he has continued to discover and develop the solo voice repertoire. Her Vox in Femina venture from 2010 introduced collectively a number of the nice Twentieth-century and modern composers.

Laura Catrani‘s Vox in Bestia venture arose out of lockdown, and has now been issued on the Stradivarius label. In it, Catrani brings collectively three works written for her by Fabrizio De Rossi Re, Matteo Franceschini and Alessandro Solbiato, every of which takes texts from Dante as their foundation.

Laura Catrani has been very a lot related to the music of recent and Twentieth century composers and her performances have included modern operas by a wide range of composers together with two on this disc, Alessandro Solibiati (Leggenda and Il suono giallo) and Matteo Franceschini (Il gridario and Forést).

The texts for the three works on this disc all point out animals, each actual and fabulous, so the ensuing disc is a contemporary tackle a Medieval bestiary and helped have a good time the Dante anniversary final 12 months. Catrani commissioned the poet Tiziano Scarpa to create his personal poetic commentary on Dante’s verses, and a dwell efficiency entails Catrani singing the music by the three modern composers, Scarpa reciting his verses and music from Dante’s time on lute solo.

This disc is one thing of a distillation, 15 tracks representing three teams of 5. Fabrizio De Rossi Re’s Vox in bestia – Interno which offers with ‘The Three Beasts’, ‘Flies, Wasps, Worms’, ‘Starlings, Cranes and Turtle Doves’, ‘Cerberus’ and ‘The She-Mastiffs’. Matteo Franceschini’s Vox in bestia – Purgatorio which offers with ‘The Falcons’, ‘The Curs’, ‘The Lamb of God’, ‘The Bee’, and ‘The Little Stork’. Alessandro Solbiati’s Animalia – Paradiso which offers with ‘The Eagle’, ‘The Adder’, ‘The Chicken’, ‘The Lamb’, and ‘The Pelican’.

Vox in Bestia: Gli animali della divina commedia - Fabrizio de Rossi Re, Matteo Franceschini, Alessandro Solbiati; Laura Catrani; Stradivarius

Catrani begins every motion with a recitation of the Dante textual content, and all through the items combine spoken and vocalisation. De Rossi Re combines the varied types of vocalisation collectively in a busy and vivid method, requiring Catrani to create a vocal tour-de-force, and behind a lot of his writing there may be the suggestion of jazz affect (De Rossi Re’s background mixes classical and jazz coaching). Matteo Franceschini is the youngest of the composers on the disc, and he studied each along with his father and with Alessandro Solbiati (the third composer on the disc). Franceschini’s type right here is maybe extra thought of, and definitely he makes an incredible use of silence, however the vocal management required remains to be dazzling. Solbiati appears to favour vocalisation over non-vocalised sounds, thus creating a really efficient distinction between the three teams of items.

However what comes over strongly is their commonality, as every explores what it means to evoke Dante’s iconic textual content in music and vocalisation, in addition to their want to write down music that matches Catrani’s character. And it’s Laura Catrani who hyperlinks all of the music collectively, performing with dazzling method, wonderful virtuosity in the best way she will be able to activate a pin and transfer immediately from one type of vocalisation to a different, and her unbelievable dedication to the inventive course of.

For all of the musical virtues right here, it’s a very text-based venture, not solely do the concepts from Dante’s texts thread their method by means of the music, however the very texts themselves are a part of the musical discourse. For somebody unable to understand Dante within the authentic, this could show one thing of a barrier, and I think {that a} familiarity with Dante within the authentic will facilitate one other degree of appreciation on this fascinating and difficult venture.

The Cd booklet consists of pictures by Gianluidi Toccafono which come from the video created to accompany the venture and which appear so as to add a component of imaginative humour to the entire.

Vox in Bestia: Gli animali della Divina Commedia
Fabrizio De Rossi Re (born 1960) –  Vox in bestia: Inferno (2021)
Matteo Franceschini (born 1979) – Vox in bestia: Purgatorio (2021)
Alessandro Solbiati (born 1956) – Animalia: Paradiso
Laura Catrani (soprano)
Recording: Chiesa di San Giuseppe ai Piani, Bolzano, 2-3 August 2021

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