American Record Guide review

Great review of L’estro d’Orfeo‘s latest album “Altri Canti d’Amor” on the January 2018 issue of the ‘American Record Guide‘! Read below or click HERE.


“They play as one, with deft tempo fluctuations, stylish energy, and vivid color.”



“This is the ensemble’s debut recording. More, please!”



Reviewer: Catherine Moore

Yes, we do know this title from Monteverdi’s Book 8 madrigal of the same name. In the 17th Century, instruments—most notably the cornetto and the newly-invented violin—sought to emulate the human voice, and composers often made instrumental versions of vocal pieces. Furthermore, performers added ornaments to the already elaborate instrumental diminutions. On top of this, we have the frequent (almost constant) poetic theme of love and the sought-after skill of “sprezzatura” by which artists (and courtiers) strove to make the execution of extremely difficult tasks appear easy. Such elegant nonchalance was the ideal.


All these captivating attributes of 17thCentury music-making align precisely with the genesis and purpose of the L’Estro D’Orfeo ensemble, whose six players combine to play baroque violins, cornetto, viola da gamba, theorbo, baroque guitar, and harpsichord. They play as one, with deft tempo fluctuations, stylish energy, and vivid color. Each instrument takes a turn in the spotlight, from the soaring cornetto in Merula’s ‘Chiacona A 3 Col Basso’ to virtuosic violin in Marini’s ‘Sonata Prima Sopra Fuggi Dolente Core’ and a lead role for viola da gamba in Rognoni’s ‘Ancor Che Col Partire’.


Founder and director Leonor De Lera includes her own diminutions on an aria from Cavalli’s Gli Amori D’Apollo E Di Dafne, beginning with the bass line plus theorbo, then effectively building up and releasing tension through the ground bass cycles, introspective and flamboyant by turns.


Regarding the ensemble’s choice of pitch, A=466 (common in Northern Italy at the time and a semitone higher than 440), it’s clearly a deliberate aesthetic choice. The added tension leads to “higher precision response from the [gut] strings and the appearance of certain natural harmonics, as well as giving greater clarity and brilliance to the sound”. Notes and bios.


This is the ensemble’s debut recording. More, please!