Alessandro Scarlatti’s St John Passion was the first Passion setting written in seventeenth-century Italy. Scarlatti treats the role of the Evangelist (composed in the mezzo-soprano register) in highly unusual fashion, giving his narrative numerous emotional passages. The Voice of Christ (bass) is invariably haloed by a string accompaniment.
The Stabat Mater is a 13th-century Catholic hymn to Mary, which portrays her suffering as Jesus Christ's mother during his crucifixion. Its author may be either the Franciscan friar Jacopone da Todi or Pope Innocent III. The title comes from its first line, Stabat Mater dolorosa, which means "the sorrowful mother was standing". The hymn is sung at the liturgy on the memorial of Our Lady of Sorrows. The Stabat Mater has been set to music by many Western composers.
…Now then: FIVE CDs of one male alto singing Baroque cantatas? If you suppose this would be too much of a good thing, you haven't yet grasped the expressive virtuosity of Gerard Lesne. The man sings every phrase with such engagement that you forget you're listening to a singer and imagine that you're hearing a passionate human 'speaking' musically just to you. There is also an immense range of compositional resources in baroque music - a bag of tricks, if you will - which only the finest performers like Lesne can fully exploit. And just in case you suffer from a short musical attention span, the generous producers oat Virgin Classics have built in a couple of instrumental sonatas to let your ears re-set…
Greek mezzo-soprano, Mary-Ellen Nesi, who sings all five works, produces a stream of gloriously firm tone reminiscent of Bernada Fink, another superb mezzo on the scene these days. Her diction and moulding of phrases here is excellent. The two Leonardo Leo settings of the Salve Regina (in C Minor and F Major) which begin the disc are followed by a cello Concerto (also by Leonardo Leo) and a world premiere recording of an Alessandro Scarlatti setting of salve Regina (in C Minor) and then the two better known Pergolesi settings (in C and A Minor) conclude the disc. The cello soloist is lovely too and all works receive excellent support from Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco.
Pergolesi's Stabat mater and his C minor Salve Regina were coupled earlier on the Hogwood (L'Oiseau-Lyre) recording, highly praised by NA. The addition of another Salve Regina, this one attributed not quite conclusively to Scarlatti as a late work, provides the new record with a further attraction both on the piece's own merit (irrespective of authorship) and in its affinity with the Stabat mater. Another attraction for many will lie in the identity of the two singers and the conductor. Dutoit, to be sure, is not commonly associated with music of this kind, but the stylishness of his performances over a wide field may promote confidence that it will extend to this, and that the Montreal Sinfonietta will bring a touch that will not seem too heavy in an age which has grown accustomed to authentic instruments and reduced numbers. As for the singers, bath have the requisite clarity and flexibility, and Bartoli has made a notable success of arie antiche written within the period (Decca).
"deutsche harmonia mundi" ist eines der wichtigsten und ambitioniertesten Label für die authentische Interpretation und historische Aufführungspraxis. 2013 feiert das Label bereits sein 55-jähriges Bestehen.
Zu diesem Jubiläum erscheint nun eine hochwertige 25CD-Edition mit vielfach ausgezeichneten und von der Presse hochgelobten Aufnahmen sowie einem ausführlichen Einführungstext über die Anfänge und die Geschichte des Labels…