2009 release from L'Arpeggiata, the French-based ensemble directed by Austrian-born harpist and lutenist Christina Pluhar. L'Arpeggiata has made a speciality of exploring and exploiting the close links between Baroque repertoire and the traditional music of the Latin world and its characteristic forms such as the tarantella, the folia or the canario. On Via Crucis, 'the way of the Cross', the focus is on the pervasive presence of religious feeling in Southern Europe. The Passion of Christ evokes the same fervour in composers such as Giovanni Felice Sances (1600-1679) or Tarquinio Merula (1594-1665) - both active in northern Italy – as it does in the streets of Naples or the villages of Corsica. The two main works in the collection are Sance's extraordinary Stabat Mater and Merula's Hor ch'e tempo di dormire, in which the Virgin Mary lulls her baby to sleep while weeping for his future suffering and both enthrall the listener with a basso ostinato and hypnotic swaying rhythms.
The Belgium-based ambient neo-classical composer-director went into her studio sessions with a whole bunch of ideas for her small army of enchanted well-wishers, which included the likes of Steve Hauschildt, John Also Bennett, Angel Deradoorian, Clarice Jensen, Beatrijs De Klerck, and members of Belgium's Echo Collective. She planned on making an album balanced between heavily composed pieces and her kind of post-improv collaborations, where session musicians were free to add to or subtract from their collective efforts. When it came time to mix the results, the album ended up being entirely spontaneous, and it's all the better for it.