L’Arpa Barberini: Music for harp & soprano in Early Baroque Rome | Accent ACC24310

L’Arpa Barberini: Music for harp & soprano in Early Baroque Rome

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Label: Accent

Cat No: ACC24310

Format: CD

Number of Discs: 1

Release Date: 12th February 2016



A painting by Giovanni Lanfranco (c.1630) at the Palazzo Barbarini in Rome shows Venus playing on a wonderful Baroque harp. This harp – owned by Cardinal Maffeo Barbarini, the later Pope Urban VII – still exists. It is an extraodinary instrument, not only from an optical but also from a musical point of view: the strings are arranged in three rows, which enables chromatic playing in all keys. This is the Arpa Barberini, which can be visited at the Museo Nazionale degli Strumenti Musicali in Rome today, a testament to musical performance at the court of the Barberini during the first half of the 17th century.

On the present CD, this important instrument features in musical repertoire of the same place and time. The Italian soprano Roberta Invernizzi sings arias and scenes from monodic composers, who were connected with the Barberini court; Margret Köll accompanies on a copy of the Arpa Barberini, built in 2007 by Eric Kleinmann, and also plays solo pieces by other Roman composers.


This a most fascinating disc. The use of a copy of such a renowned instrument as the Arpa Barberini is its main asset but it is also the quality of the music which makes this disc an unequivocal success. One gets a very good impression of the splendour of musical life in Rome in the time of the Barberini's. And this is just a very small selection of the huge amount of music written by such famous masters as Frescobaldi and Kapsberger who were unrivalled on their respective instruments. Michi is far less known but deserves to be mentioned in the same breath. That is not all: we get here masterful performances by two first-class artists. Margret Köll is one of today's main exponents of the playing on historical harps. ... The collaboration of Margret Köll and Roberta Invernizzi turns out to be an ideal partnership where both use their respective qualities for an expressive and penetrating interpretation of this fascinating repertoire.  Johan van Veen (Recording of the Month)
MusicWeb International May 2016

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