"I doubt anyone who had never heard Favella Lyrica could imagine what they do, or how well they do it: We've never heard anything quite like the duet singing of Pamela Murray and Pamela Dellal." 



Note temprando Amor...Love-tempered notes


Arguably the greatest text painter of his time, Claudio Monteverdi overlooked no opportunity to color a word or depict a mood. The delightful Baci Cari opens with the word "tornate" (return) set in an antiphonal stretto which creates a wonderful sense of urgency. Drastically different in style is the free, fantasy-like O come sei gentile. Of particular note are the varied ways in which the composer portrays the singing of both the little bird and the rejected lover. Dramatic changes in tessatura and painful chromaticism color the schizophrenic text of Ardo. The poet experiences a conflict between the intense need to express his desire, and his fear of rejection. Finally, not to be outdone in the inevitable painting of nature poetry, Monteverdi gives us the charming Zefiro torna. So brilliantly set is this tableau that the listener could scarcely miss the billowing waves, echoing caves, and even a sunrise! And when, without warning, the poet plunges into despair, only to return to his euphoric singing, the melodrama becomes irresistible!

La Gelosia is a striking example of Luigi Rossi's use of form to illuminate the text. Ostensibly a strophic song, the verses alternate between passages of free, melismatic expression and metrical sections in duple and triple. This schizophrenic structure is a perfect reflection of the psychological state of the victim of jealousy - fighting off his suspicions only to discover them still present. Of particular note is the original ornamentation in the second verse, the final, ambiguous cadence on the fifth in the last verse, and the punning emphasis on the gel (ice) of gelosia versus the fire of true love.

The two duets of Heinrich Schütz are from the second book of Kleine Geistliche Konzerte, published in 1639, during his scaled-down period of the Thirty Years' War. Although Schütz uses the same techniques of echoing textual phrases and adding one voice to another to increase the intensity as Monteverdi, here the passion is at the service of the love of God. Each duet sets only a small portion of its respective psalm, with extended and transcendent alleluias concluding each work.

In the devastating tale of Il Combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda, borrowed from the 12th song of Jersualem Delivered by Tasso, the Christian Tancred is in love with the Moslem Clorinda. She has burned down one of the enemy's towers, and he (Tancred) has challenged her to a duel, unaware of her identity. in Amico, hai vinto, Sigismondo D'India has chosen to set the final scene, in which the fatally wounded Clorinda has finally fallen to the ground, and asks her assailant to forgive and baptize her. Struck with pity, he begins the task, and finally, recognizes her face.

Handel wrote Italian duets at two different times in his life: once in 1710-11, while he was in Italy, and later in the 1740's, in London. Va, speme infida pur is from the first period. A highly intense and serious work, it displays an impressive range of dramatic and emotional color which Handel would later develop in his operatic works. Nò, di voi non vo' fidarmi was written in 1741, less than a year before the first performance of Messiah, which incorporates material from it. Although as virtuosic as the earlier piece, the coloratura is more playful and witty, while the inevitable comparisons it evokes with its later reworkings in Messiah are grounds for even more delight, perhaps, than its composer intended.

Claudio Monteverdi

Baci cari

O come sei gentile


Zefiro torna

Luigi Rossi

La Gelosia

Heinrich Schütz

Herr, ich hoffe darauf

Habe deine Lust an dem Herren

Sigismondo D'India

Amico, hai vinto

George Frideric Handel

Va, speme infida pur

Nò, di voi non vo' fidarmi