This collection of baroque songs for soprano and lute doesn’t have the manic bravura of some of Invernizzi’s opera aria performances – but then again, it’s not that kind of music. Probably the challenge with a recital like this is to introduce enough variety into the programming and enough subtlety into the performance to bring out the contrasts among these early seventeenth-century selections.
Invernizzi and lutenist Craig Marchitelli succeed in doing so. Many of these songs are miniature cantatas, with dramatic shifts of mood and tone, e.g. Giacomo Carissimi’s “piangete, aure, piangete” or several of the Barbara Strozzi selections. There are also some neat contrasts between pieces – the tone lightens with track five, “della porta d’oriente,” for example, and there are are a number of shifts between delicate and introspective songs and pieces that feel more popular in tone, or – alternately – a bit more sturm und drang (autocorrect: did you mean “strum and dang”?* Actually, since there is a lute and it’s very good, yes, in a way, but leave it alone please) like Strozzi’s “udite, amanti”.
Invernizzi is completely in her element here in terms of style, sound and vividness of expression; I also enjoyed hearing the lowest notes of her voice, e.g. at the end of the aforementioned “udite, amanti”. The recital also includes some solo pieces for lute, both brief little interludes and one or two longer and more dramatic items like track 10, a toccata by Kapsberger. This is one of those albums that sucks you in before you even realize what has happened.
*”Strum and dang” also refers to the less well known country-western version of the German Sturm und Drang.