With Affetti amorosi Damien Guillon directs a dazzling selection of vocal works from Girolamo Frescobaldi, drawn from the Ferrara composer’s two books of Arie musicali. These arias date from 1615-1630, by which time Frescobaldi, now resident in Rome, had become a “cult” composer, and permitted great expressive freedom in the performance of his music.
Purposefully offering a recording full of contrasts and singing of human and divine love, countertenor Guillon is admirably matched by the other vocal talents in Le Banquet Céleste: soprano Céline Scheen, tenor Thomas Hobbs and bass Benoît Arnould. This new Glossa recording includes two of Frescobaldi’s enduring and moving spiritual sonnets, Maddalena alla croce and Ohimè che fur as well as one of the nascent Baroque’s favoured vocal forms, the lettera amorosa, in Vanne, o carta amorosa.
The singers are joined by lute, harp, cello and harpsichord from Guillon’s ensemble. In his wide- ranging and thought-provoking essay Pierre-Élie Mamou points out vivid characteristics of this early Baroque music – including “the play of opposites that greatly moves our souls” – notably the polarities between anxiety and pleasure, and time which passes and time which remains.