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Javier Camarena, Angel Rodriguez: Sogno – Tosti Songs (24/192 FLAC)

Javier Camarena, Angel Rodriguez: Sogno - Tosti Songs (24/192 FLAC)
Javier Camarena, Angel Rodriguez: Sogno – Tosti Songs (24/192 FLAC)


Composer: Sir Francesco Paolo Tosti
Performer: Javier Camarena, Ángel Rodríguez
Format: FLAC (tracks)
Label: Pentatone
Catalogue: PTC5187184
Release: 2024
Size: 3.12 GB
Recovery: +3%
Scan: yes

Quattro canzoni d’Amaranta
01. No. 1, Lasciami! Lascia ch’io respiri
02. No. 2, L’alba sepàra dalla luce l’ombra
03. No. 3, In van preghi
04. No. 4, Che dici, o parola del Saggio?

05. Malìa
06. Aprile
07. Sogno
08. L’Ultima Canzone

09. No. 1, Mon bien aimé!
10. No. 2, Petite valse romantique
11. No. 3, Avec toi

12. Because of You
13. Vorrei morire!
14. A Vucchella
15. Luna d’estate!
16. Marechiare
17. Apri!
18. Regret
19. Penso!
20. First Waltz
21. Chitarrata abruzzese

The popularity of Paolo Tosti’s songs in the early 20th century, even in the U.S., is indicated by a satirical tune, I Want to Know Where Tosti Went (When He Sang Goodbye Forever) from the Black minstrel performer Bert Williams. In Britain, he was at the top of the charts, being paid handsomely by a publisher for 12 songs a year. That wasn’t a problem; he ended up writing some 400 songs, of which this release by tenor Javier Camarena barely scratches the surface. Today, Tosti is either forgotten or grouped with the Neapolitan song composers. He could write Neapolitan songs (a good example here is Marechiare), but that was just one facet of his output. Camarena seeks to explore the variety of Tosti’s work rather than simply delivering greatest hits, and in fact, Goodbye Forever is not included, but there is a fairly ambitious song cycle, Quattro canzoni d’Amaranta, about which one might be hard pressed to guess the composer if one didn’t already know. There are also songs in English dating from Tosti’s British sojourn and a set of French Mélodies. Camarena overcompensates with rhoticism in some of the English (Tosti’s songs were British, not American), but in the main body of Italian pieces, he sounds great, applying but not overdoing a dose of sentiment. The biggest thing most listeners will take away from this album is that Tosti is an underrated composer; the songs here are light, but they are never formulaic, and the program is thoroughly enjoyable. Camarena gets solid support from accompanist Ángel Rodriguez and from the PentaTone label’s engineers, working in a San Francisco Conservatory of Music recital hall.

On his second Pentatone album Sogno, tenor Javier Camarena pays tribute to Francesco Paolo Tosti, together with pianist Angel Rodriguez. Camarena and Rodriguez have curated a collection of Tosti’s songs that not only include some of his greatest hits but also highlight lesser-known works, including songs in French and English. The songs selected for this album give us an overview of the different facets of Tosti’s style. Some are deeply sentimental, exemplified by ‘Vorrei morire!’ — one of the composer’s most famous pieces — while others, such as ‘Marechiare’, draw inspiration from folk traditions. Although Tosti is not often remembered in the history of nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century music, Javier Camarena is inviting us to rediscover the enchanting world of his songs. Javier Camarena stands as one of the preeminent tenors of our time, and Sogno marks his second album following the successful Signor Gaetano (2022). Pianist Angel Rodriguez makes his Pentatone debut.

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