Mi Palpita Il Cor: Baroque Passions

By on December 9, 2016




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MI PALPITA IL COR: BAROQUE PASSIONS is a compelling journey into the rich corners of the mid- and late-Baroque period.

Featuring an array of thrilling instrumental and vocal compositions, the album is driven by the performances of French-Canadian soprano Dominique Labelle and American early music ensemble Musica Pacifica, founded in 1990, based in San Francisco, and whose playing has been called “a small miracle of precision and musical electricity” by the Washington Post.

Passion is the album’s throughline—all the vocal works address different aspects of love (from anguish to humor) and the instrumental works are filled with emotional intensity as well. MI PALPITA IL COR: BAROQUE PASSIONS is exquisitely curated, and brings together a delightful variety of works from a distinctive group of Baroque composers.

Most importantly, Labelle and Musica Pacifica bring this music to life with the inviting mixture of expertise, ability, and charm that has earned them the highest praise throughout their careers. Musica Pacifica has been dubbed the “crème de la crème” (Alte Musik Aktuell) and “among the finest Baroque musicians in America” (American Record Guide).

Beloved by her fans, soprano Dominique Labelle is a recognized expert in early music repertoire – her voice has been described as “angelic,” “silvery,” and “vibrant” by critics.

In MI PALPITA IL COR: BAROQUE PASSIONS, Labelle floats effortlessly between nations and decades as she performs works by Agostino Steffani, an Italian who spent almost all of his career in Germany, George Frideric Handel – a German who achieved renown first in Italy and later in England – and the French titan Jean-Phillippe Rameau. Labelle’s appearance is a virtual tour of the hotbeds of European musical creativity in the period.

At the heart of Musica Pacifica’s performance lie the group’s soloists, some of the finest in the country: recorder-player Judith Linsenberg and violinist Elizabeth Blumenstock, who deliver a particularly stunning rendering of Giuseppe Sammartini’s Sonata in B minor.

The charming, conversational Telemann “Paris” Quartet in G Major highlights Linsenberg and Blumenstock and offers expert viola da gamba player Josh Lee a solo turn. Lee also joins John Lenti (theorbo/guitar) and Charles Sherman (harpsichord) to form a superb continuo team that provides vital support.

MI PALPITA IL COR: BAROQUE PASSIONS highlights the technique and musicianship that has made Musica Pacifica one of the finest ensembles in the historical performance movement for the last quarter century.

The music featured on MI PALPITA IL COR: BAROQUE PASSIONS is ultimately about intense desire and strong emotions. Through the captivating performances of Dominique Labelle and Musica Pacifica, MI PALPITA IL COR: BAROQUE PASSIONS connects its listeners to the heartbeat of Baroque music and the spirit that energized 17th- and 18th- century Europe’s most important composers.



“Baroque Passions is really a stellar effort all around. The performances are all quite excellent making this yet another of the many fine recordings from this ensemble. Highly recommended!”

– Cinemusic, four-star review

“Montreal-born soprano Dominique Labelle easily navigates 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.”

– Rafael de Acha,  Rafael’s Music Notes

“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.”

– Stephen Smoliar,  The Rehearsal Studio

“Labelle has a wonderful voice for this repertoire, clear and light but with plenty of staying power for the extended vocal displays; and the instrumental playing that backs her up is impeccable. Musica Pacifica shines on its own in the Sammartini and Telemann works that break up the succession of cantatas. This is a lovely disc that bears the strong personal stamp of the performers.”

– The InfoDad Team,  InfoDad.com: Family-Focused Reviews


Judith Linsenberg, recorders
Elizabeth Blumenstock, violin
Josh Lee, viola da gamba
John Lenti, theorbo and guitar
Charles Sherman, harpsichord

with Dominique Labelle, soprano


Agostino Steffani (1654-1728)
1  Aria: Guardati o core
2  Recitativo: Da quei begli occhiarcieri
3  Arioso and Ritornello: Sappi ch’ei ti lusinga
4  Arioso:  Fugga pur l’impero
5  Aria:  Sono i frutti d’amor

Giuseppe Sammartini (1695-1750)
6  Con Spirito
7  Allegro
8  Andante e staccato
9  [Allegro]

George Frideric Handel (1685-1759)
10  Recitativo ed Arioso: Mi palpita il cor
11  Recitativo: Tormento e gelosia
12  Aria: Ho tanti affani
13  Recitativo: Clori, di te me lagno
14  Aria: Se un di m’adora

Georg Philipp Telemann (1681-1767)
15  Prélude: Un peu Vivement
16  Légèrement
17  Gracieusement
18  Vite
19  Modéré
20 Gai
21 Lentement-Vite-Lentement-Vite

Jean-Philippe Rameau (1683-1764)
22 Récitatif: Par le charme vainqueur
23  Air:  Que du bruit de tes hauts exploits
24  Récitatif: Mais son âme sensible
25  Air gracieux: J’ai pour témoin de ma victoire
26  Récitatif: À ce penseur flatteur
27  Air: En vain par des nouveaux accords
28  Air: Amour, Amour
29  Récitatif: Inutiles regrets
30  Air gai: En amour il est un moment

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