Benjamin C.S. Boyle's Spirits in Bondage

Poetry and music have often been described as “beautiful sisters” in the European tradition, and American composer Benjamin C. S. Boyle sets out to prove just how harmonious this kinship can be. Owing to pianist and art song expert Laura Ward as well as to a selection of top-class singers, these elaborate yet easily accessible vocal compositions are resplendently brought to life on SPIRITS IN BONDAGE.

The lyrics underpinning this double album are often fantastical, but Boyle prudently renounces any notion of musical pomp and instead sets them in an agreeably-reduced, crystal-clear tonal language. Ward and her high-carat assortment of vocalists empathetically, wisely oblige and perform them likewise – and the result is magnificent.

L'Italiana in Algeri - Eroica Berlin (2022)

Gioachino Rossini’s opera L’Italiana in Algeri is one of the composer’s best-known operas and has lost none of its rousing freshness and energy since its premiere in 1813.

At the end of 2022, the young conductor Jakob Lehmann and his Eroica Berlin orchestra presented at the Delphi Theatre (Berlin) Rossini’s music according to the latest knowledge of historical performance practice.

“This creates a fresh, detailed, cooler, brilliant but also airy sound in comparison to conventional performances … The agogics and the pleasurable ritardandi, the portamenti and the short, dry staccati also show that the musicians have studied earlier practices in depth. The music is played here as we learn it from early 19th century sources.” (Merkeronline).

Mezzo-soprano Hannah Ludwig stands out from the international ensemble of young singers in the leading role. “As Isabella, she dazzles with a luminous tone that is also well blended in the lower register, has agility, but also the necessary dramatic impetus. A singer who is a pleasure.” (Merkeronline)