Not for the first time in their illustrious career, Claudio Cavina and his Italian vocal and instrumental ensemble La Venexiana have just received a strong critical vote of approval for their artistry, with the announcement on Thursday September 25th that they have won a coveted Classic fM Gramophone Award. Claudio Cavina was on hand to collect the Baroque Vocal Award for 2008 (decided on by the specialist critics of the UK-based Gramophone magazine) at a ceremony held in London, UK for his and La Venexiana’s recording of the fabula in musica by Claudio Monteverdi, L’Orfeo.
In Gramophone’s original review of the recording (which merited L’Orfeo being marked out as an Editor’s Choice), Richard Lawrence commented that “Cavina’s wonderful account goes straight to the top of the list of recommended recordings. Do not miss it.”; a recommendation that was taken up by the also prestigious UK reviewing forum, the “Building a Library” feature on BBC Radio 3’s CD Review programme, which identified the Glossa recording as the Top Recommendation for the work.
Counter-tenor and conductor Cavina has assembled a strong cast of leading vocal specialists including Emanuela Galli, Mirko Guadagnini (in the title role), Marina De Liso, Cristina Calzolari, Matteo Bellotto and Josè Lo Monaco, accompanied by the period-instrument forces of La Venxiana for the recording released last year on the 400th anniversary of the first performance of L’Orfeo.
La Venexiana have long been fêted for their subtle mastery of their native Italian – musical as well as vocal – language: indeed, back in 2000 Jonathan Freeman-Attwood, again in Gramophone magazine, enthused about them in terms as, “This exquisitely modulated Italian ensemble is wonderfully discriminating, extracting the eloquence of the mercurial lines and unobtrusively seeking architectural sense behind the text.” – when commenting on La Venexiana’s recording of Gesualdo da Venosa’s Il quarto libro di madrigali. This Glossa recording was to win the Gramophone Award in 2001.
Although La Venexiana have recorded and performed madrigals by other leading early Italian composers – Luca Marenzio, Sigismondo d’India and Giaches de Wert among them – the secular music of Claudio Monteverdi has, to date, been the focal point of the group’s activities: madrigals from all nine books have been recorded in Glossa’s Monteverdi Edition. Now Cavina is preparing for imminent release on the label an extensive three CD collection of Monteverdi’s sacred music, drawn from the 1640 Selva morale e spirituale collection.
© 2008 Diverdi / Glossa Music