Title - 'Songs of Orpheus'
Artist - Karim Sulayman & Apollo's Fire
Lebanese-American tenor Karim Sulayman's neat encapsulation of the Orpheus myth infuses his solo recording debut, Songs of Orpheus in quite stunning style.
A versatile and sophisticated artist with repertoire spanning from the Renaissance to contemporary music, Sulayman completed three seasons at the renowned Marlboro Music Festival.
He has performed at Lincoln Center, the Kennedy Center, Carnegie Hall, New York City Opera, Boston Lyric Opera, Chicago Opera Theatre, Cité de la Musique, the Casals Festival, and the Aspen Music Festival.
Indeed, he has recorded the title role in Handel’s Acis and Galatea with Mercury Baroque, and can be heard on recordings of Philidor and Grétry on the Naxos label.
Orpheus, the greatest singer of all time, famously followed his deceased beloved Eurydice to the gates of Hades in an attempt to bring her back to life.
He was thwarted by the gods who forbade him to gaze at her during their journey back to earth. He could not resist, and the tale has been told in numerous musical interpretations including those of Monteverdi and his 17th-century compatriots who are represented on this imaginative album, performed with leading baroque interpreters Jeannette Sorrell and Apollos Fire.
With Songs of Orpheus from Karim Sulayman & Apollo's Fire out now via AVIE Records, it has to be said that once you've listened to this quite incredible recording, you'll simply hit repeat and allow it to waft over and through you all over again; you have my word that it's just that addictive a listen.
I. I LOVE YOU ...
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)
1. Si dolce è ‘l tormento [3:35]
from Quarto scherzo
delle ariose vaghezze, 1624 arr. J. Sorrell
2. Vi ricorda o bosch’ ombrosi [2:32]
from L’Orfeo, 1607
3. Rosa del ciel [2:31]
Giulio Caccini (1551-1618)
4. Dolcissimo sospiro [2:55]
from Le nuove musiche, 1602
II. ... TO HELL ...
Dario Castello (1590-1658)
5. Sonata No. 2 in D Minor [5:28]
from Sonate concertate in stil moderno, Libro II, 1629 – Julie Andrijeski, violin
6. Tu se’ morta from L’Orfeo [4:04]
7. Funeste piaggie [4:39]
from L’Euridice, 1602, arr. J. Sorrell
Giovanni Paulo Cima (1570 – 1622)
8. Sonata no. 1 in G Minor [4:56]
for Violin & Continuo – Johanna Novom, violin
9. Qual honor di te sia degno from L’Orfeo [5:00]
III. ... AND BACK
10. Sonata concertata XV, a Quattro voci [5:04]
Sigismondo D’india (1582-1629)
11. Piangono al pianger mio [4:47]
from Le musiche da cantar solo, Milan 1609
Stefano Landi (1587-1639)
12. Canta la cicaletta [4:37]
from Quinto libro di arie da cantarsi ad una voce, 1637
arr. J. Sorrell
13. T’amai gran tempo [6:22]
from Secondo libro di arie
da cantarsi ad una voce, 1627 arr. R. Schiffer
Antonio Brunelli (1577-1630)
14. Non havea Febo ancora [2:43]
from Arie, scherzi, canzonette e madrigali a cantare e suonare, 1613
Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665)
15. Folle è ben che si crede [3:58]
from Curtio precipitato et altri capricii,1638 arr. by J. Sorrell & R. Schiffer
Total Time: 63:21
Recorded between August 20th-23rd, 2017 at Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church, Cleveland Heights, Ohio and with the Recording producer and editor at the helm being Erica Brenner, Karim Sulayman & Apollo's Fire's breathtaking Songs of Orpheus is, simply put, one of the most breathtaking works of classical art I have ever beholden.
I mean, just the finest points of these compositions in the capable hands of both artists is enough to bring tears to your soul. Sulayman's creative details when approaching the beauty, the majesty, the heartfelt and passionate depth of such a program such as this one is amazing.
That combined with the eternally spiritual and vibrantly tracking Apollo's Fire - Cleveland's finest Baroque Orchestra from their very own Institute of Music - and even most tiniest of nuances are brought forth as if they, as well as the much broader moments, matter equally to the overall storytelling; which they obviously do, of course.
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