There is never anything ordinary about a recording from Jakub Józef Orliński. The secret is in the programming, where Baroque gems rub shoulders with newly excavated treasures—and there are at least a dozen world premieres here. In this journey through the Baroque’s first century, the Polish countertenor lavishes just as much love and attention on the newbies as the solid gold. He finds fresh phraseology for the passion of “Amarilli, mia bella,” the most popular song from the dawn of the Baroque, while lighting up the curious characters found in operatic fragments by Giovanni Netti, the major new discovery of the album. This is one of those rare recordings which has been designed to feel like a concert, complete with carefully curated sequences of pieces, connected with improvised links. Orliński’s power is compelling: managing to be both the magnetic, dramatic focal point, and yet simultaneously moving us with his self-effacing grace.

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