Ambronay Editions, AMY308. 60’43
Works by Albertini, Marini, Castaldi, Pandolfi Mealli, Stradella,
I have written before of the excellent work that eeemerging and the Cultural Centre Ambronay do to support young musicians. One such is the arrangement by which the top two ensembles in each of the eeemerging rounds are offered a recording through the Collection Jeunes Ensembles of Ambronay Editions. A recent example is this CD, Assassins, Assassinations, the debut recording of the two-person ensemble Repicco, (violinist Kinga Ujszàszi and Jadran Duncumb, theorbo). The rather grizzly link between the Italian Baroque composers represented in the recording is that they were all either murdered or murderers. This is a genre of recording that, I trust, has a limited range, particularly when it comes to present days composers. It certainly says something about political and social life in Italy during the period known as the ‘Iron century’, a time dominated by powerful families and warring cities.
It is not obvious from the music chosen to represent the five composers which were murdered, or which were murderers. But all produced music that highlights the extremes of passion that imbued the Italian Baroque era. These two musicians, Kinga Ujszàszi and Jadran Duncumb, from Hungary and Norway respectively, met and nurtured their separate careers in London. They were selected for the 2015 eeemerging programme, winning the audience prize in the eeemerging festival in Ambronay. Their playing and musical interpretations are outstanding, successfully negotiating the extremes of virtuosity and drama alongside some delightful moments of repose amongst all the drama.
The atmosphere of the recording is enhanced (or not, according to your taste) by the very audible breaths, it seems, of the lute player. I am not sure how this found its way onto the final cut, as there is otherwise no strong evidence of an over-close recording. It was recorded in the chapel of a French cultural centre. The acoustic is generous and supportive, with the engineers producing a sound well-balanced between detail and atmosphere.