“During this visit, these young ladies were so obliging as to sing me a Salve regina, lately set by their father, in duo. It is an exquisite composition, full of grace, taste and propriety.” What more could one ask of an antiphon than that which Charles Burney found in an impromptu performance by Hasse’s daughters during a visit to their father in Vienna in 1772? Hasse composed several settings of the Salve regina of which Reinhard Goebel has chosen two for his interesting programme of vocal and instrumental pieces by the composer.
Who would ever have thought that Benedictine plainsong would ever cross over into the mainstream? Well, in some ways it is hardly surprising that it did. Anyone who has ever wandered around some of the great monasteries of Europe will have listened in awe to the chant of the monks at various prayer times. Simplistic beauty is the only way to describe it. The sound of male voices echoing through the cavernous halls of a Gothic monmastery church brings with it a quality which it would be impossible and unwise to recreate in the studio. This tuly is music which, if taken out of the architectural context for which it ewas intended, ceases to have the effect that was intended.
Certainly the somber beauty of Pergolesi's Stabat Mater for soprano, alto, and strings has a lot to do with its popularity. But it must be said that the story of the 26-year-old composer completing the work on his deathbed has always been too romantic for the public–or the music business–to resist. "The instant his death was known," wrote the famous 18th-century traveler Dr. Burney, "all Italy manifested an eager desire to hear and possess his productions." And so it's been ever since. In spite of the competition already on the market, it seems Decca just had to get its prize lyric soprano and hotshot young countertenor together to record the piece. –Matthew Westphal
Had Pergolesi not died young, his name would rank among the most stellar and influential of Italy’s 18th-century composers. Despite the brevity of his life – he died at 26 – Pergolesi created numerous deathless works
In this second album of Claudio Abbado’s Pergolesi Project, the renowned maestro conducts the Missa S. Emidio, Manca la guida al pie, Laudate pueri Dominum, and the Salve Regina in F minor. Abbado’s passion for this music meets these sacred compositions on the exalted level where they were composed… (The Times)
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi had a tragically short career, living just 26 years, and producing most of his mature works over a period of about five years. This album includes three of the composer's most representative pieces. The most familiar is the 40-minute Stabat mater for soprano, alto, and orchestra, which was the most frequently published composition of the 18th century. This version, featuring soprano Rachel Harnisch and contralto Sara Mingardo, makes a splendid introduction to the work and should be of interest to anyone who loves this poignant music. …
by Stephen Eddins
Claudio Monteverdi and Girolamo Frescobaldi were two of the most influential musical figures in 17th-century Italy; while the former's boundary-pushing madrigals, operas and sacred works changed the course of Baroque vocal music irrevocably, the latter was one of the first – and most prominent – composers to devote serious attention to composing for the keyboard.
This recording from The Choir of Westminster Cathedral also features two of its admired former organists and the English Chamber Orchestra Brass Ensemble, all illuminating joyful paeans of praise by the profoundly religious organist and composer Jean Langlais.
…The orchestra, led by violinist Michi Gaigg, is a delight to hear, a finely tuned and ideally balanced ensemble whose playing gives real drive and support to the singers–and, in these world premiere recordings, makes a strong case for hearing a lot more from J.C. The sound is exemplary.