Anno 1630 Lorenzo Ghielmi, Enrico Onofri, and Margret Köll peform early Italian baroque works, Anno 1630 (p) 2003 Winter and Winter. I first reviewed this CD in June of 2004. Then, I had this to say:
It was some years ago, now, that I heard Mr. Ghielmi and Mr. Onofri present some of this repertoire at the Cleveland Museum of Art (Ohio). It was a free recital, and featured a new positif organ the museum had purchased. Seeing Onofri come out, and tie that silk scarf around his neck was a sight; it has remained, ever since, the most moving, and “best” concert I have ever witnessed. The musicians both transported me elsewhere; the quality of their playing incredible, and the music both interesting and affective. So, now on the indie label Winter and Winter we get a taste of this repertoire, from “around” the year 1630. It’s an interesting way to group disparate pieces together… we get keyboard solos, single-voice numbers, violin sonatas, and even a harp solo. I had wanted to pick up this release after reading this weekend that Onofri has now shifted focus on singing. The opportunity to hear him as a vocal soloist plus on violin, might prove to be a special treat. The recorded sound is excellent; however I think the “volume” is too high. With headphones, it’s giving the magnets next to my ears a run for their money; on the hi-fi, the volume was really loud. This is nice, but reduces the dynamic range and can introduce distortion. Onofri’s voice seemed to overvibrate in my listening salon until I fought my own lazyness to get up and turn the volume down. A small criticism, but then again, it’s also crystal-clear. The packaging is also of special mention; I don’t want to know how expensive it was to package; special papers, fiber, and cut-outs make for a CD case you’ll cherish to enjoy and explore. It’s sad, however, that the CD contains no real liner-notes. You’re left to figure out the words (of the singing numbers) on your own, or else already be an expert in the Italian baroque. If Fontana, Frescobaldi, Castello, and Monteverdi already line your CD shelves (as they do mine), you might take especial interest in this 74 minute release. It centers upon a historic organ, that quite frankly, has to be heard to be believed. For those who want to experience early tunings, this one shines, and really plays off both the benefits and characterization of different temperments. After living with this CD for over 2 years, it is one of my very favorites. The color of the instruments used, from a rare harp, to Onofri's violin, to the outstanding organ used, all contribute to a ripe, robust recording of imaginative works. I can't imagine a true baroque performance any better, in terms of the style of playing and interpretive choices. The colors from the violin, and the confidence in Mr. Onofri's singing are all hallmarks. I only wish these musicians would record more together, they have made one very interesting and engaging disc. 5 stars, many ovations, and kudos are deserved. A biberfan favorite. This CD was discussed on NPR - All Things Considered.