The Italian Lute Song

July 1, 1996

The works on this program take in a century and a half of Italian solo song, from the beginning of the era of music printing in the late Renaissance through the musical revolution of the early Baroque. - Kevin Bazzan

If you don't know whether you'll enjoy Italian songs of the Renaissance era, this disc will convince you one way or the other--probably positively. Baird's dexterity and expressiveness bring the antique material to life, and her light voice is perfect for the music. McFarlane collaborates with vigor and personality, instead of accompanying from a respectful distance, and he even varies the program with some beautiful lute solos. Printed texts with literate translations also help bring the music closer to us, and the recording quality is superb. The only problem with the disc is that it's difficult to read the names of the composers and titles, which are printed in small type on a picture background. But if that's the worst problem, who cares? - Leslie Gerber