Love letters from Italy Reviews
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"Love Letters from Italy Gets Stamp of Approval: Just when the boredom reaches maximum strength about an aspect of music, another wave comes ashore and delightfully startles a listener. What fun to report that that happened recently with Love Letters From Italy (Lyrichord Early Music Series LEMS 8026). There has been a flood of 17th Century music of late, and the countertenors that go with it. Drew Minter, though, is not just another countertenor. Here, working with Gwendolyn Toth and the Artek (458) Strings, he pulls all the stops and brings a recital that is going to cause comment for a long time to come. Toth is the conductor of the recently released Artek performance of Monteverdi's Orfeo, an over-the-top reading that made waves of its own. That aesthetic sense is what propels this outing. Minter has the technique to do anything he cares to do and he revels in that. Through songs of Sigismondo d'India, Monteverdi, Giovanni Felice Sances, and Domenico Mazzocchi, he startles with his laser-like accuracy, his fearless abandon in tempi, and his sheer joy of execution. That's all before he presents Rimbombava d'intorno of Antonio Cesti. This is a must own for anyone who even remotely claims to care about singing. For nearly 13 minutes, Rimbombava tells of a clash of wills, brilliantly characterized by the writing for voice and instruments, between Niobe and Latona. The opening phrase, 'A warring echo to the sound of a thousand trumpets resounded through the kingdom of Thebes' sets the tone for a tour-de-force that shows Minter's talents to the fullest. This is nothing short of brilliant in every respect. Buy it!" (Daniel L. Cusick, Scranton, PA Sunday Times, 10/27/96)

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