Songs of Naples are more than what are commonly known as Napolitan Songs, as was charmingly demonstrated by the Accordone Ensemble during the Israel Festival. Unlike the artistically polished operatic bel canto vocal style of the Napolitan songs, Accordone displays a mostly declamatory, or semi-declamatory, vocal style of parlando voice production. This is enhanced by suggestively restrained yet poignant dramatic emphases, and spiced with tastefully stylized dance movements.
This closeness to the songs' ethnic sources lends an inescapably captivating appeal to the renditions. Profound melancholy is sometimes conveyed by the very natural-sounding vocal style. But then, toward the end, side-splitting humor reveals a contagious sense of joie de vivre. Unbelievably tricky tongue twisters contribute to the fun.
The period instruments provide a discreet background to the charming vocal performances. As a veritable surprise, the commonly modest frame drum turns out to be a dazzling virtuoso instrument as played by Mauro Durante.
Accordone proves how the return to traditional, almost forgotten musical sources can result in an enchanting artistic experience.
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