On the MotCO iPod today, ‘Sacrificium’, the new long player from everybody’s favourite mezzo-soprano, Cecilia Bartoli.
Dedicated to the (arguably thankfully) lost ‘art’ of the castrati, young fellows with their family jewels lopped off before their voices broke to preserve and enhance their vocal purity, Bartoli's latest project presents a dozen arias from obscure Baroque-era composers, including such non-household names as Nicola Porpora, Francesco Araia, Antonio Caldara and Leonardo Vinci.
For all the obscurity of the pieces (11 of which are world premiere recordings), the thing’s a tour de force. Each aria is an explosion of emotion, virtuosic music of coloratura verve and passion. It's also sumptuously packaged with a 108 page hardcover book telling everything you need to know about castration.
I like to contrast this with the similarly sublime music of a chap who plainly has not has his nads snipped off, Mr Josh Todd of the popular beat combo Buckcherry.
As he puts matters in a sensitive paean to his lady-love:
Hey, you're a crazy bitch,
But you fuck so good, I'm on top of it
When I dream I'm doing you all night
Scratches all down my back to keep me right on
I can’t decide which I like better.