01-Bud-RoachSospiro: Alessandro Grandi –
Complete Arias, 1626
Bud Roach
Musica Omnia mo0506

Grandi’s songs were highly popular in Venice in the 1620s. Here they are played as they would have been — for solo voice and instrument. In this case, tenor Bud Roach accompanies himself on the five-course Spanish guitar that created real competition for both lute and theorbo. From the start, Roach interprets a much-maligned genre by combining a sensuous set of lyrics with the strumming technique (in Italian, stile battuto) offered by the Spanish guitar of that period. He brings a real vigour and animation to this CD.

It is always tempting to associate this genre with a lovesick young man describing his anguish over unfulfilled love. From track two alone, Grandi’s young man laments the pain he feels from Chloris, Lilla, Flora and a whole host of nymphs! For a really sensuous approach, listen to the lyrics of È si grave‘I tormento, the anguish of the words accompanied by expressive yet measured guitar accompaniment. And for those who are totally disillusioned, you are not alone — Sotto aspetto ridente warns of “a hidden, deadly poison. Don’t believe in Love!”

Roach displays his own vocal versatility in songs such as Consenti pur e ti pieghi, which tests his higher ranges. His skill with the baroque guitar needs no further comment. Quite simply, this is a comprehensive rendition of Grandi’s multi-faceted arias, which demand and receive a multi-faceted performance from Roach. He himself acknowledges his inspiration from one of the very greatest period-performance musicians, the much-loved James Tyler, whose research into the earliest guitars has proved invaluable in bringing this genre to modern audiences.

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