Del Cielo d’Amor

Lute News 76, 2005
...This recording is absolutely excellent; if anything even better than Richter and Anders' very beautiful CD of Petrarch settings reviewed in an earlier issue.

D'India's music encompasses a wide range of forms and moods: lively strophic arias and canzonettas, songs over a ground bass, laments, and through-composed 'madrigals' (these particularly show the composer's taste for exotic and expressive surprise key changes) and the rich, clear, flexible voice of Gundula Anders expresses them all most eloquently. Her execution of florid baroque ornaments, including vibrato as an expressive ornament, is virtuosic (a song about the nightingale gives her room to spread her wings on this score), and her intonation is faultless. This is dramatic, passionate, text-led song, with frequent changes of mood and emotional colour, even from one line to the next, and Anders portrays each emotion very sensitively. Highlights from this point of view are her performances of an extraordinary 8-minute long 'lettera amorosa', a passionate love letter in verse set as a recitative, and (even better music I think) a 9-minute long 'Lamento d'Olimpia'. The accompaniments are technically assured and sensitive througout, and what a treat to hear, besides the archlute and gut-strung chitarrone, the sound of a brass-strung chitarrone on 5 of the tracks (including a famous Piccinini chaconna), and the poignant double-stopped chords of a lirone. Sigrun Richter contributes four solos, a prelude by Kapsberger, and two toccatas and a chaconna by Piccinini, all well played with what seems to me just the right degree of internal variety of tempo, and rubato.
An excellent recording of passionate music, by a composer who on a good day could give Monteverdi a run for his money.