"This is a joy of an issue, gorgeously presented, scholarly annotated, and superbly recorded.... Labelle’s singing is... characteristically strong and passionate, fluid and expressive.... Musica Pacifica’s pristine sense of ensemble shines forth. A beautiful issue that is as heartwarming as it is stimulating."
Music and Vision
"Baroque Passions is really a stellar effort all around. Excellent accompanying notes will help [give] even the most casual listener an opportunity to think more about European styles and approaches to composition. This is actually a great disc to have handy for students learning about the Baroque as it has a good exploration of dance styles, instrumental music, and vocal writing across the period. The performances are all quite excellent making this yet another of the many fine recordings from this ensemble. Highly recommended!" - Cinemusical, four out of four stars
"A showcase for the filigreed textures and unique instrumental combinations that are the hallmark of this era. But it also pays homage to the stylistic influences of multiple countries, as composers freely moved among England, Germany, Italy and France, packing in their musical bags of tricks innovative new forms, harmonies, rhythms and texts from faraway lands.
"Steffani’s Guardati O Core warns of Cupid’s fateful arrow, with Montreal-born soprano Dominique Labelle easily navigating the florid ornamentation and tripping runs during each of her arias. Sammartini’s Sonata in B Minor, Op. 1, No. 6 features Linsenberg’s solo recorder crisply executing the four-movement work’s sprightly dotted rhythms, particularly during its two final dance movements."
Winnipeg Free Press, four-star review
“Judith Linsenberg... is a master of all her instruments and an ideal equal partner in all five of the compositions featured in the album... The five musicians are, in a word, superb.
"In Handel’s early solo cantata for alto, Mi palpita il cor, Dominique Labelle dives flawlessly into the vocal hurdles of the piece, singing the pastoral text about the perils of love with a light touch that yet never skims over the surface of the composition, instead mining all along for emotional depth.... Hers is a beautiful full lyric soprano voice and the results of her approach along with the superb accompaniment by Musica Pacifica are most satisfying.
"As customary with Navona Records, the engineering is top-notch and the album’s packaging, accompanied by insightful program notes is first class.” – Rafael de Acha, Rafael's Music Notes
“Both [Handel's] cantatas and his operas tend to cover a range of emotions, whose contrasting elements are more evident from the music than from any of the texts he happens to be following.
"Labelle brings a solid appreciation of the capabilities of all three cantata composers for such expressiveness. There is a clarity to her delivery that leads the attentive listener through unfolding changes in rhetoric, treating the overall cantata basically as a landscape of emotional contexts. That clarity, of course, owes much to the chamber setting, in which the voice is on the same level as any of the instrumental solo lines. In the Handel cantata this is particularly evident in the ways in which voice and recorder interleave as their contrapuntal relationship unfolds.” – Stephen Smoliar, The Rehearsal Studio
"We tend to think of Baroque music as straitlaced, balanced and controlled, and are surprised to find examples that are anything but emotionally cool – doubly so when performers find ways to elicit the music’s underlying emotions while remaining true to Baroque style and historical performance practices. This is a tall order, but one that Musica Pacifica and soprano Dominique Labelle fill beautifully on a new Navona disc featuring three vocal and two instrumental works that have little in common except for their willingness to use Baroque structural formalities to capture emotions with unerring skill."
– The InfoDad Team, InfoDad.com: Family-Focused Reviews