The most outstanding feature of this excellent CD is a very high quality of ensemble singing. Ensemble Artaserse is a wonderful group including two virtuoso players -Jeremie Papasergio (baroque bassoon)and Emilia Gliozzi (cello). They match excellently with the stellar French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, whose timbre is in fact instrumental, too. Although Jaroussky is certainly the star of this recording, I cannot say that other musicians are just accompanying him - they are making music together. If I were to choose the best track, my choice would be the aria 'Di verdi ulive' from Tito Manlio (track 21); here the vocal line beatifully intertwines with an obligato cello part played by Gliozzi. I am happy to have cello sonata RV 47 with Gliozzi on this CD: it is fine music, especially the last two movements.
The main core on this CD are five solo cantatas by Vivaldi. I think that the best of them are Alla caccia dell'almi e de'cori RV 670 and Qual per ignoto calle RV 677, then comes Perfidissimo cor RV 674. I am less taken by Care selve, amici prati RV 671. The last item, Pianti, sospiri e dimandar mercede RV 676 sounds banal to my ears, though it of course gives many chances to the soloist to show up his virtuosity.
The singing type 'countertenor' which seemed clear in the day of Alfred Deller and James Bowman has gradually become vague, since present day singers, who sing with a head voice have very different timbres and sing in different registers. David Daniels, for instance, often sounds as a male contralto. Philippe Jaroussky is a male soprano: his forte are melismas and coloratura in the high register - he gets it without any effort. Of course, he has many other merits. He is young, has a fresh voice, long breath and impeccable musicality - he hits the very center of each note: in this respect he reminds me of young Alfred Deller, though Jaroussky's voice, unlike Deller's is is not warm. His vocal style and instrumental timbre devoid of romantic vibrato suit perfectly to the music on this CD.