Founded by Leonor de Lera, L’Estro d’Orfeo is an ensemble that specialises in instrumental music of the seventeenth century, making use of period instruments and with a historically informed approach in line with the aesthetics of the time.
Director Leonor de Lera nimble violin and Josué Meléndez’s silky-smooth cornetto – both instruments vaunted as the closest, expression-wise, to the human voice – soon make one forget the absence of a singer, and they are ably supported by violin, viola da gamba, chordophones and harpsichord ...
— Classical Music, February 2018
[...] the cornetto played with remarkable beauty and sensitivity here and elsewhere by Josué Meléndez. [...] The continuo work by Javier Nuñez is also wonderfully subtle. [...] an astonishing set of diminutions on Rore’s famous madrigal ‘Ancor che col partire’; this is played with amazing fluency and clarity on the viola bastarda (by Rodney Prada) [...] so much exquisite playing and rare and magical music.
— Gary Higginson, MusicWeb International, January 2018
All these captivating attributes of 17thCentury music-making align precisely with the genesis and purpose of the L’Estro D’Orfeo ensemble, whose six players combine to play baroque violins, cornetto, viola da gamba, theorbo, baroque guitar, and harpsichord. They play as one, with deft tempo fluctuations, stylish energy, and vivid color. Each instrument takes a turn in the spotlight, from the soaring cornetto in Merula’s ‘Chiacona A 3 Col Basso’ to virtuosic violin in Marini’s ‘Sonata Prima Sopra Fuggi Dolente Core’ and a lead role for viola da gamba in Rognoni’s ‘Ancor Che Col Partire’.
Regarding the ensemble’s choice of pitch, A=466 (common in Northern Italy at the time and a semitone higher than 440), it’s clearly a deliberate aesthetic choice. The added tension leads to “higher precision response from the [gut] strings and the appearance of certain natural harmonics, as well as giving greater clarity and brilliance to the sound”. Notes and bios.
This is the ensemble’s debut recording. More, please!
— Catherine Moore, American Record Guide, January, 2018
Lera ofereix unes bellissimes interpretacions historicistes, pienes de matisos i contrastos, que reculien el llegat de mestres inspiradors com Nikolaus Harnoncourt o Jordi Savall. L’exquisida fusió dei instruments i la precisió harmònica enlluernen ja en l’inicial “Altri canti d’Amor” de Monteverdi.
— E.R., 440 Clàssica, January 2018
This is lovely music from a popular part of the Baroque repertoire, and it receives sympatherically intimate playing from a group who achieve involving results by keeping their vocal and amorous inspirations in mind throughout. Playing at A=166Hz “Venetian” pitch, the six-piece ensemble generate a sound that is bright and keen, without ever becoming shrill or excessively taut.
— Lindsay Kemp, Gramophone, December 2017
Altri canti d’Amor
17th Century Instrumental Works
Challenge Classics (2017)