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Mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena - The Album 'Monteverdi': Music box, April 11th

Monday, 11 April 2016 , ora 9.49

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 On February 19th 2016, Archiv Record Label released the latest album of Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena on an international level. The album includes the works of Claudio Monteverdi, with short orchestral interludes composed by Marco Ucellini, Tarquinio Merula and Biagio Marini. In the first half of the 17th century, a new musical style emerged in the world of Italian music - the Baroque style. It was the time when the Renaissance had a heavy influence on the musical discourse, particularly on the vocal polyphonic forms.

It is a world filled with light - every time I listen to the music of Claudio Monteverdi I am amazed by its relevance, its beauty and its inventiveness. When performed by able musicians such as the Czech mezzo-soprano Magdalena Kozena, who clearly is at the peak of her career, the result is absolutely delightful. I say this without disregarding the essential contribution of the exceptional ensemble accompanying Magdalena Kozena, La Cetra din Basel, led by Andrea Marcon, and comprised of 13 musicians who perform on period instruments and who genuinely recreate the sound of Monteverdi's music, as it was performed in his time.

The new album of Magdalena Kozena is part of the Radio Romania Music campaign Vote for the classical album of 2016, and it is, in fact, one of the most successful albums of this competition.

The most extensive of the works included on the album is Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda by Claudio Monteverdi, one of the most innovative works ever written in the history of music. That is because Monteverdi incorporated in this piece, which is rather difficult to place in a particular genre, techniques that became immensely popular centuries later: pizzicato and tremolo for strings, among many others, which were used to describe as accurately as possible the subject described in the poem of Torquato Tasso, that is the story about love and war between the Christian knight Tancred and the Saracen maiden Clorinda. It is an extremely rich score for the performers, and Magdalena Kozena achieved a truly authentic interpretation of one of the most interesting scores in the history of music.

Evidently, Magdalena Kozena's mastery of the art of pre-classical music interpretation, which has certain particularities - one cannot perform it as one would perform the music of Verdi, for instance - can only be described in the superlative. It is not the intensity and amplitude of the voice that are stressed here, rather the ability to point out a minute musical journey, with impressive emotional range, stressing the word uttered and, naturally, a different sort of vocal emission. In fact, most of her 40 albums, which were released by Deutsche Grammophon, one of the most important classical music record labels, with which she has signed an exclusivity contract since 1999, consist of pre-classical music. However, Magdalena Kozena did not limit herself exclusively to this repertoire - in 2012, for instance, she has recorded Carmen by Bizet, together with the tenor Jonas Kaufmann, and in May and June of 2016 Magdalena Kozena will perform Julietta by Bohuslav Martinu on the stage of the Berlin State Opera. In April 2016 Magdalena Kozena will perform Lieder recitals in Luxemburg and Frankfurt. During the season of 2015-2016 she is an artist-in-residence at four institutions: Wigmore Hall of London, the philharmonic orchestras of Luxemburg, Hamburg and Prague, for which she has prepared four different programs, one of them consisting of works by Monteverdi.

Magdalena Kozena's latest album can be heard on Monday, April 11th, at 19.00 and once again on Sunday, April 17th, at 13.05. Also, you can listen to it at any time on the site of the campaign Vote for the classical album of 2016.

Cristina Comandașu
Translated by Elena Gherca
MTTLC, the University of Bucharest