Listen to this for: early Baroque Italian music
Fagioli’s pre-Artaserse album is a collection of early Italian music. Stately and courtly, it’s generally a little more fluid than Purcell and Dowland, offering a rare opportunity to hear Fagioli in a much less frenetic mood. Most of the songs are by anonymous composers and are performed with the accompaniment of a single lute, with the occasional cheerful intrusion of the harpsichord or cello. The more I listen to it, the more it grows on me. Monteverdi’s Si dolce è ‘l tormento is full of yearning, while the anonymous Care luci is austere but beautiful, given colour by Fagioli’s vibrant voice. He gets into slightly more familiar territory with the virtuoso aria Cor ingrato dispietato, in which he fits an absolutely unbelievable number of notes into one line: so many, that it’s quite exhausting to listen to. But then he returns to the more delicate and romantic Nel cor più non mi sento (though he can’t resist a few little trills here and there). It’s serene and graceful, a perfect counterpart to the flamboyance of his operatic arias (though I think I’m always going to prefer those).