`Li Due Orfei: Caccini & Peri

Li Due Orfei: Caccini & Peri
Marc Mauillon & Angélique Mauillon
Arcana A393. 57’12

Recordings Mauillon Cover 916Giulio Caccini and Jacopo Peri were musical assistants to Emilio de’ Cavalieri for the famed celebrations for the Florentine marriage of Ferdinand de’ Medici and Christine de Lorraine. In the resulting La Pellegrino, they helped to develop a new style of singing, based on earlier concepts of singing in what was thought to be the style of Orpheus. This emphasised the declamatory solo voice in what became known as the stile rappresentativo, accompanied by a simple basso continuo, based on Orfeo’s lyre, here realised by Angélique Mauillon on a triple harp by Somerset luthier Simon Capp, after early 17th century Italian models. This recording explores the later work of the two composers, with an emphasis on the music of Caccini, with 12 examples compared to the five from Peri, together with three instrumental harp interludes by Luzzaschi and Piccinini.

The Mauillon siblings draw their programme from a number of Florentine publications, including Caccini’s Le nuove musiche (1602) and Nuove musiche e nuova maniera di scriverle (1614), and Peri’s La varie musiche (1609). Marc Mauillon’s tenor voice is attractively flexible, floating through the complex ornamentation with commendable ease, and allowing the music and text to unfold in a natural manner. He uses an occasional relaxed vibrato, quite correctly, as an ornament rather than a persistent irritation. His voice also comfortably extends into a baritone register. Angélique Mauillon’s harp continuo and solos are sensitive and musical, although it seems likely that the original accompaniment would have been on a theorbo, rather than a harp. There are occasional key and pitch jumps that might have been aided by a few harp links, but otherwise the tracks work well together in an attractively mixed programme.

This is a most attractive CD of some superb music.

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