Album review: Julia Lezhneva, Alleluia (Decca)


Her 2011 collection of Rossini arias showed soprano Julia Lezhneva to be a singer of uncommon ability and vivacity, to which this Decca debut of baroque motets adds the subtler qualities of generosity and devotion.

Il Giardino Armonico provide apt support throughout: their dashing, frothy strings offer a syllabub-light bed for her glass-like clarity and poise on Vivaldi's “In Furore Iustissimae Irae”, effectively a virtuoso sacred aria celebrating God's compassion. Lezhneva displays an especially balmy command essaying the soothing message of the third movement, perfectly measured to fit the understated string textures, while her take on Handel's “Saeviat Tellus Inter Rigores” is marked by rare grace and restraint.

Download: Saeviat Tellus Inter Rigores; In Furore Iustissimae Irae; Exsultate, Jubilate