Classicheggiando

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Gli Italian Harmonistsprotagonists of Classicheggiando, are inspired by the Comedian HarmonistsThis was an important Berlin vocal group active between 1928 and 1935, which was forced, with the rise to power of the Nazis, first to change its membership, as three of its members were Jewish, and then to disband.

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Gli Italian Harmonistsprotagonists of Classicheggiando, are inspired by the Comedian HarmonistsThis was an important Berlin vocal group active between 1928 and 1935, which was forced, with the rise to power of the Nazis, first to change its membership, as three of its members were Jewish, and then to disband.

The formation is the same: a vocal quintet with four tenors and a bass, singing a cappella or with piano accompaniment. The starting repertoire was also identical: the original repertoire of the Comedian Harmonists, studied with the care and passion of music philologists.

But the Italian Harmonists have now reached their third recording and the common training of professional singers, combined for some of them with an equally professional training as instrumentalists, together with a shared musicological curiosity for the most varied repertoires for this type of ensemble, has led them, after a first one entirely dedicated to the music of the Comedian Harmonists and a second one dedicated to the "parallel" repertoire of Italian songs of the '30s.

The link with the historical predecessors is always very strong. The Minuet by Boccherini, the Fifth Hungarian Dance by Brahms and the Barcarola They are presented here in the historical arrangements by Harry Frommermann, tenor and founder of the Berlin group, and Erwin Bootz, who was its pianist, although with the addition to the piano accompaniment of the Barcarola of a precious instrumental detail, the harp, which already played a fundamental role in Offenbach's original score.

In addition, Träumerei is presented in the arrangement by Bruno Seidler-Winkler (1880-1960), a little-remembered German musician who was nonetheless an important opera conductor and piano accompanist and who worked closely with the greatest singers of his time. He was also a great connoisseur of voices, as can be seen in this refined version of Schumann's delicate and intimate piece.

The re-elaboration of Bernstein's piece, with the interesting echo effect on the word "Maria", repeated by the voices of the various tenors, thus creating a particular effect of timbre transcendence, gives us the opportunity to talk about an important contemporary choirmaster, Bruno Casoni, depositary of the great tradition of Italian choirmasters, and to thank him for having made this unusual arrangement available.

Finally, the other adaptations are the work of two members of the sextet: tenor (and organist) Massimiliano Di Fino and pianist Jader Costa, who has supported the group since its foundation with a fundamental contribution also as an expert arranger.

Thus the historical arrangements are flanked by contemporary ones, which obviously take into account the vocal characteristics of the individual members and highlight their potential. The five singers are able to use the vocal instrument consciously in different and extremely refined ways: from the full voice to the falsetto (which allows the tenors to reach very high tessituras, bordering on those of sopranos), from the most extreme articulation (in the Minuet by Boccherini) to the more homogeneous legato (in theIntermezzo from Manon Lescaut(in which Olga Giusy Mazzia's harp reappears in a key role), combined with great care and precision in intonation. The professional vocal preparation allows them to support a piece of great bravura as the Symphony from Nabuccoa long and vocally insidious track, to enhance the timbre of their deep bass in a track like Night and DayThis renewed the tradition of the great Italian basses who also took an interest in musicals in America, such as Ezio Pinza, Cesare Siepi and Bonaldo Giaiotti, of revisiting the German Lied tradition with Der Lindenbaum Schubert, but also to tackle a more daring and typically tenor-like Italian salon romance such as The Dance by Rossini. 

M° Alberto Malazzi

Additional information

Year

2017

Orchestration

Singing, Piano

Support

CD

Typology

Authors/Interpreters/Arrangers

Italian Harmonists

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