La Cetra di Sette Corde | PRESS

 

 

Composer | Francesco Rasi
Artist | Riccardo Pisani, tenor
Ensemble Arte Musica
Chiara Granata, harp
Silvia de Maria, viola da gamba and lirone
Giovanni Bellini, theorbo and baroque guitar
Francesco Cera, harpsichord, musical direction
Format | 1 CD – 2021
Label | Arcana
 
 
 
Classica ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
“Ces perles sonores exaltent les monodies auxquelles le ténor Riccardo Pisani apporte une intensité très convaincante. […] Le temps musical dans lequel le chanteur nous emmène, la sensualité du mot, cet aigu diversement coloré sont au service d’une poésie plus intime, tout aussi séduisante.”
 
Philippe Ramin
 
Musica ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
 
“E sin dall’inizio […] si avverte la finezza del canto che segue con grandi sfumature coloristiche la parola secondo la prassi del recitar cantando […]. Una vera e propria esemplare lezione di cantare con naturalezza (il che richiede una padronanza tecnica non trascurabile) e secondo le regole fissate nelle Nuove Musiche di Caccini. A convincere però non è solo il bel canto di Pisani, ma anche la variegata arte dell’accompagnamento, che riempie con diminuzioni e arrichisce con abbellimenti la parte strumentale.”
 
Lorenzo Tozzi

 

Diapason 

“Doué d’une voix chaleureuse et séduisante, Pisani égale en brio ses prédécesseurs [Furio Zanasi, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro n.d.r] dans les passaggi qui ornent ces somptueuses monodies, mais point en intensité dramatique. Soutenu par un inventif quatuor de continuistes – parfois exagérément privilégié par la prise de son – son récital n’en reste pas moins harmonieusement construit et riche d’inédits”

Denis Morrier

 

Il Sole 24 Ore – Il disco del Sole
 
Un prezioso CD (ARCANA) racconta ora il cantore nelle meno note vesti di compositore, scegliendone una sfaccettata antologia […] offerta in una esecuzione incantevole col tenore Riccardo Pisani e l’Ensemble Arte Musica diretto da Francesco Cera. […] Una ghiottoneria per i fan del Barocco.
 
Carla Moreni
 
Le Soir – Opéra: 2021, l’année des ténors
 
[…] Un enregistrement de ces œuvres inspiré du titre de son dernier recueil imprimé La cetra di sette corde («La lyre à sept cordes») qui nous permet de découvrir le jeune ténor Riccardo Pisani, un très élégant maître du «recitar cantando».
 
Serge Martin
 
Musikzen
 
Francesco Rasi se révèle comme un maître du chant monodique, du nouvel art scénique, et (c’est plus rare) comme un authentique auteur-compositeur. Riccardo Pisani prend avec bonheur le relais dans la troisième profession qu’il exerçait en son temps, celle d’interprète.
 
Marc Vignal
 
Crescendo Magazine  Son : 8,5 – Livret : 9,5 – Répertoire : 9 – Interprétation : 9,5
 
Ces deux récitals [Furio Zanasi, Emiliano Gonzalez Toro] trouvent ici un digne concurrent, dont on salue l’intelligente perspective. Plus que dans les quelques mélismes et vocalises virtuoses, c’est surtout dans l’art d’une déclamation naturelle que se distingue le ténor dont le timbre blanc et droit, la parole nuancée traduisent sobrement le mot. L’univers intérieur de ce voyage pétrarquiste vibre avec parcimonie, son lyrisme n’en résonne que plus authentiquement, nanti d’une courtoisie qui le renverrait presque aux archétypes du fin’amor troubadouresque.
 
Christophe Steyne
 
Operaclick
 
Il tenore Riccardo Pisani ha la voce giusta e il background adatto per interpretare un repertorio così rarefatto. La voce dolce e chiara, l’emissione fluida e naturale, la cura delle parole ben rifinita si adattano all’argomento amoroso dei testi. Pisani inoltre possiede tutto l’armamentario tecnico richiesto dal periodo, tra cui delle ribattute rapide e leggere molto belle, poi i melismi sulle parole canoniche, echi, tremoli, tutti artifici posti in un contesto in cui la musica diviene ornamento delle parole.
 
Daniela Goldoni
 

Pan M 360

“Riccardo Pisani est le ténor orphique inspiré qui tient le rôle d’un Rasi réincarné qu’on imagine facilement avoir interprété lui-même ces bijoux de chansons lyriques des tous premiers temps de cet art. […] Un album important pour tous les mélomanes curieux d’en savoir plus sur les balbutiements du baroque et du chant lyrique.”

Frédéric Cardin

 

Il Giornale di Vicenza

“Tenore dal timbro caldo, Riccardo Pisani offre una lettura di straordinaria espressività ed estremo buon gusto, con una dizione così curata che fa vibrare il significato di ogni parola.”

Filippo Lovato

 

 

PER IL SIGNOR FRANCESCO RASI.

La bella cetra, che scolpita splende
In questi marmi, ti può far sicuro,
Che il Rasi qui sepolto era maestro
Dell’amabile arnese. O lieto l’Arno,
E lieto il Mincio, che d’udir fu degno
il suon soave, che non mai sentiro
Le bellissime rive dell’ Eurota
Negli anni antichi, e s’egli alzava il canto,
Sorpresi all’ armonia dell’aurea voce,
Taceano i venti e s’arrestavan l’onde,
E chinavano i Pin l’altere cime:
Perocché egli solea, non la faretra
Dell’alato figliuol di Citerea,
Ma cantar degli eroi l’alme corone.
Or voi cortesi, che per via passate,
Di voi prendavi duol: l’alte lusinghe
Delle Sirene, e dell’Aonie Muse
Mai più non siete per udire in terra.
Epitaffio di Gabriello Chiabrera

 

 

About this release

The first monographic recording entirely dedicated to Francesco Rasi is released for the 400th anniversary of his death (30 November 1621). The first interpreter of Monteverdi’s Orfeo, an astonishing tenor and poet with a life studded with triumphs, constant travels, debts and murders, this native of Arezzo was fought over by all the courts of Italy and Europe. The pieces, on texts by Petrarch, Guarini, Chiabrera and Rasi himself – including ten world premieres – are taken from the Vaghezze di Musica (1608) and the Madrigali (1610). Tenor soloist Riccardo Pisani explores their extraordinary poetic and musical power, in a kaleidoscope of affects divided into seven ‘strings of the lyre’. He is accompanied by the Ensemble Arte Musica, directed by harpsichordist Francesco Cera. The two artists have been collaborating for years on rediscovering the Italian vocal repertory of the seventeenth century, as witnessed by the recent success of their set of Frescobaldi CDs, released on Arcana.

 
 

The kithara of seven strings

by Riccardo Pisani

The rediscovery of the musical repertoire of the early 17th century has substantially overlooked Francesco Rasi. And yet this extraordinary composer, poet and instrumentalist was one of the leading figures in the birth of opera and solo song, and his artistic production offers superb examples of that fusion of music and word that is most effectively summed up in the phrase “recitar cantando”. In the year of the 400th anniversary of his death (30 November 1621) we here pay tribute to his compositional work, the most private facet of an artist who was widely acclaimed by the courts of Italy and Europe, while leading a life studded not only with triumphs and continuous travel, but also debts and even murders.
Recitation and song, poetry and music, verse and sound: these are the qualities that come together in Rasi’s creative spirit, just as they did in those ancient singers of the classical age whose legendary reputation the early Seicento aspired to resurrect. In order to highlight this dual aspect of Rasi’s work, we have drawn inspiration from his literary output, and particularly from his poetic anthology La Cetra di Sette Corde (The Kithara of Seven Strings), a work divided into seven distinct parts. Each “string” is dedicated to a prominent person of his age and contains panegyrics, fables written to be set to music, and other poems. The image of the kithara stands therefore as a metaphor for our recording project, as if the sound of each vibrating string were to resonate with a specific affect. The seven strings, to quote Rasi himself, penetrate the heart and interconnect in an ideal loving relationship evoked in poetic language bearing the familiar stylistic features
of Petrarchism. Love induces effects, or rather affects: in particular it is an invincible amorous disease that provokes emotional reactions of disconnection and disruption. But here we are dealing with not just a story told in verse, but also the interpreter of Orpheus, the singer-poet. A celebratory prologue immediately introduces Francesco Rasi as a master in the art of favellare in armonia (speech in music), which, to follow Caccini’s advice, must come as close as possible to the natural favella (natural speech). And thus, before our eyes, is born a story made up of sounding strings, the strings of the human soul. Each “string” is introduced by an instrumental piece from Rasi’s period: four solo pieces and three arias associated with the cities that witnessed his artistic successes (Florence, Mantua and Rome).
The journey begins with the earliest instances of amorous agitation and praise of the woman (“Filli mia”), the amorous glances (“Un guardo”) and the beneficial effects of love (“Cor mio mentre vi miro”), then passes on to sudden separation and betrayal (“Deh, come in un momento”), and ends with the moment of memory (“O rimembranza amara”). This mosaic of affects and their antitheses, which is perfectly conveyed in Petrarch’s renowned sonnet “S’una fede amorosa”, is presented narratively in the sonnet “Ferma Tersilla mia”, the only time an external observer watches a distinct theatrical actio and reveals to us a
bitter finale (out of which, however, love emerges strengthened). It is a work in the stile rappresentativo (the new dramatic style), a poetic drama in which the space and time of the event are eternally fixed in the flow of the music; a drama that incidentally also had its echoes – of a distinctly Caravaggesque nature – in the life of Cavalier Francesco Rasi himself. We feel it is highly likely that the four sections of this splendid lament would have originally been interspersed with instrumental ritornellos (perhaps not included in the edition for the sake of brevity). Each of the instrumentalists has therefore composed his own ritornello in the style of the period, on the basis of a harmonic progression used by Monteverdi.
To conclude our journey to the heart of the Italian Seicento, a mysterious force drags us away from the humane miserie in favour of a happy epilogue and a love that has become mature and worthy of brighter days and joyful reunions. This safe harbour, or spiritual refuge, is recounted in the madrigal “O pura, o chiara stella”, here accompanied by the harp alone. As a rule Rasi would accompany his singing on the chitarrone, but he favoured the harp for music of a spiritual character or for moments of greater emotional intensity in the operas and in his more private performances, earning him the warmest applause from his audiences. Rasi was not only a protagonist of the new performing style of monodic singing, but also a genuine singer-songwriter ante litteram who followed the models pioneered by Caccini and Monteverdi and laid bare the indissoluble link between word and music.