Ricercar Consort - Ensemble
GB Pergolesi - Stabat Mater
другое исполнение 1, другое исполнение 2, другое исполнение 3
========= from the cover ==========
Pergolesi, the shooting star of Neapolitan Music
Nothing is more mysterious than the life of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi. The little we know of the man, his studies and his personal life contrasts strangely with the staggering fame of his music all over the world. This calm, discreet being, probably handicapped and ill, died of tuberculosis at the age of twenty-six, in utter destitution, surrounded by the Franciscan fathers to whose monastery he had withdrawn; he was buried in the common pit of the cathedral at Pozzuoli, near Naples. His public career had not lasted even six years in all! Scarcely was he in his grave than his contemporaries, deeply moved by this premature death, began to see in him a paragon of modern music: his La serva padrona was held up as a model of Neapolitan opera buff a, eventually sparking off the famous 'Querelle des Bouffons' in Paris in 1752; his heroic operas were mounted by numerous theatres, while his works of sacred music achieved fame unequalled throughout the eighteenth century and right down to the present day. Born in 1710 at lesi, in the Marche region of Italy, Pergolesi studied in Naples, at one of the four conservatories for which the city was renowned all over Europe, that of the 'Poor of Jesus Christ' (Conservatory dei Poveri di Gesu Cristo). Initially a violinist before turning to composition, he was taught by two of the greatest masters of his time: Gaetano Greco gave him his early instruction, before passing him on to Francesco Durante. The latter, who lived to be a septuagenarian, left an astoundingly vast output of both religious and instrumental music. In the two movements of his Concerto per quartetto in F minor, presented as an interlude on this recording, Durante shows a highly poetic, mysterious inward quality in the slow section, while stamping the fast movement with his skill for organisation and dynamic progression.
Pergolesi began his career at the age of twenty, and very quickly began to collect commissions and honorific titles. His Stabat Mater remains the seminal work in an output of around a dozen religious pieces (oratorios, Masses, and motets). It was the result of a commission from the highly influential Archconfraternity of the Knights of the Virgin of the Seven Dolours (Arciconfraternita dei Cavalieri della Vergine dei Sette Dolori). Such lay brotherhoods played an essential role in Baroque Naples. They made it possible to bring together the different trades of the city in guilds which provided aid and protection at every moment in life: they constituted in a sense a forerunner of the social security system, as well as offering spiritual encouragement. Dressed in a costume specific to each brotherhood, the members met regularly to discuss the guild's business, but they also took part in processions and Masses. The highpoint of each year came with the festivities associated with their patron saint.
Neapolitan musicians venerated the Virgin of the Seven Dolours, whose feast, confirmed and encouraged by Benedict XIII after the Synod of 1726, fell on the Friday before Palm Sunday. Hence, contrary to Roman usage, which required a Stabat Mater on Good Friday, the members of the Neapolitan brotherhood were accustomed to hearing one on the day of their own solemn feast. For the past twenty years or so they had made use of Alessandro Scarlatti's setting. Probably weary of always hearing the same work, they commissioned Pergolesi to write a new Stabat similarly intended for the Friday preceding Palm Sunday, which was to conserve the same forces as the older master's version: two castrato voices (soprano and contralto) accompanied by a small ensemble of strings and continuo. Although the contract was agreed towards the end of 1734, it only began to occupy the composer a year later, when his illness was already irreversible and his strength was declining. Taking refuge with the Franciscans of Pozzuoli, who cared for him and freed him from everyday material contingencies, Pergolesi devoted his last remaining energies to the composition of the Stabat. He added to it, without any apparent reason, the Salve Regina which is also included on this recording.
Whereas the work by Scarlatti that was in principle to serve him as a model still reflects a pathos and drama linked to the style of the previous century, Pergolesi's Stabat is a little gem of chiaroscuro whose transparency and concision make one marvel afresh at each hearing. It is built on continual contrast between sequences of different characters which bring a new sensibility to the 'church aria'. The opening duo ('Stabat Mater dolorosa'), whose celebrity has remained untouched by time, is a model of sobriety placed at the service of the purest emotion. The brief orchestral introduction resembles a humble supplication that leads us with muffled tread towards the entry of the voices, which unfold in their turn like two intertwining tendrils, accumulating dissonances created by harmonic suspensions. It is this decanted mood, charged with emotion, that we find once more in the concluding 'Quando corpus morietur', with its painful syncopations and slow orchestral ostinato underpinning the diaphanous melody of the two voices. Between these two poles, Pergolesi mixes all the styles at his disposal according to the needs of the different strophes he has to set, offering an admirable synthesis of the expressive resources of his time: the galant style of certain movements or the witty interjections of the orchestra in the 'Eja Mater', close to opera buffa, alternate with more dramatic moments which seem to step straight out of the fashionable operas of Naples, as in the 'Quae mcerebat'. Pergolesi does not seek to stick closely to a text that is, a priori, sorrowful (the sufferings of the Virgin at the foot of the Cross); he prefers to carry us along in a luminous, ethereal atmosphere, which by no means excludes moments of intense emotion.
The fact that this Stabat was composed at the same time as the Salve Regina will not surprise the listener. While the latter is written for just one solo voice (soprano in its version in C minor, or contralto in the version in F minor adopted here), it has many points in common with the former piece, both in its vocal coloration and in the emotional charge that radiates from the work as a whole. The resemblance strikes us immediately with the opening bars, enigmatic, as if suspended, which seem to take us back to the introduction of Stabat, before the sublime meditation of the soloist soars upwards. If one were to single out just one of the four sections that make up this Salve, it is perhaps the intensity of the second that constitutes the work's peak. The choice of the version for alto or countertenor, warmer and deeper than that for soprano, here takes on its full significance. After the vehemence of the 'Ad te clamamus', a marvel of dramatic declamation, comes the melancholy withdrawal and wholly interiorised supplication of 'Ad te suspiramus'. The 'groans' expressed by the syncopations, the sorrowing melismas at the word 'gementes', on a minor second, lead to the superb rising chromaticism of 'In hac lacrymarum valle', immediately before the strings conclude this moment of rare emotion.
The composer probably finished these two works just before his death, which occurred on 16 March 1736. This is at any rate suggested by the three words written in his hand on the autograph score of the Stabat Mater. Finis Laus Deo (The end, praise be to God!). A true shooting star of Neapolitan musical life in the brevity of his career, Pergolesi brought to the late Baroque era a depth of emotion and a radiance which will long continue to touch us.