Pablo Heras-Casado: El Maestro Farinelli

July 14, 2014


Pablo Heras-Casado, one of the most dynamic young conductors on the stage today, explores music associated with a legendary singer and impressario in vibrant performances by Concerto Köln.



Here’s a name for you:  Carlo Maria Michelangelo Nicola Broschi. Born in 1705, he became one of the most celebrated singers of all time. The fact that he was a castrato, surgically altered in order to maintain the voice of a boy as he matured, only adds, from our modern perspective, a sense of exoticism about his life.

But while he was wildly famous, most of his contemporaries probably wouldn’t have known him by that extravagant name. Rather, they would have known him simply as “Farinelli.”

Like Cher or Prince or Beyoncé in our own day, that one name conjured up a very specific sound. In the case of Farinelli, that sound was apparently not only the light, graceful sound of a young boy’s voice, it was also therapeutic, relieving the melancholy of King Philip V.

Farinelli stayed in Spain for many years thereafter, and that’s where conductor Pablo Heras-Casado picks up the singer’s story. In his new recording Heras-Casado brings us not into the world of Farinelli the singer, but rather Farinelli’s “second act,” as an impresario.

Pablo Heras-Casado

Pablo Heras-Casado

(photo by Harald Hoffmann, courtesy of Deutsche Grammophon)

El Maestro Farinelli breathes Farinelli's spirit back into music by composers with whom he associated, and with connections to his time in Spain. A mix of opera overtures from the middle of the 18th century, vibrant Spanish dances by composer José de Nebra, and symphonies by Carl Philipp Emanuel Bach and Johann Adolf Hasse make the recording a vibrant listening experience.

Pablo Heras-Casado, "one of the most exciting conductors of his generation," according to German newspaper Die Welt, charges this album with the verve and zest for which Farinelli himself was known. The music featured on El Maestro Farinelli may not be well-known, and may not even be very substantial on its surface. But through Heras-Casado's charm and energy, translated by the crack players of Concerto Köln, we’re treated to what feels like a brand new discovery of music that’s two-and-a-half-centuries old.


For more information, and to purchase this recording, visit  ArkivMusic.


For other albums featured as CD of the Week, click here. 


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