Les Talens Lyriques - Orchestra
GB Pergolesi - Stabat Mater
Reviews: Claire Wrathall / BBCmusic magazine
другое исполнение 1, другое исполнение 2, другое исполнение 3
Pergolesi's sublime setting of the Stabat mater, a 13th-century text that was accepted as part of the Catholic liturgy only in 1727, was written at the end of his brief life (he died in 1736 at the age of 26) and suggests that had he lived longer his name might be as familiar as Vivaldi. Rossini, in particular, admired it to such an extent that he was reluctant to accept the commission for his own setting (1842) on the grounds that it could never equal Pergolesi's.
It would be hard to imagine a better assemblage of performers than those gathered for this recording, and the result is perfection. Scholl's voice is miraculously pure, focused and beautiful. And compared, say, to his 1995 recording of Vivaldi's Stabat Mater, it has acquired a dramatic depth and shed its slightly antiseptic quality. It is impeccably complemented by Bonney's lighter, brighter tone and equally graceful, sincere and unmannered interpretation. Properly, they never exaggerate or overplay the gravity and melancholy of the texts, leaving one in no doubt as to the spiritual and emotional essence of the work. Christophe Rousset inspires superlative playing from the young Lyon-based period-instrument ensemble Les Talens Lyriques, revealing every exquisite detail, layer and texture of the score. An outstanding achievement.
Just when you question the need for yet another recording of ... (fill in the blank), you hear something - a recording such as this one-that not only erases your doubts, but also reminds you why you keep coming back for more: the performer. You have your favorite works, but you're always curious when someone new performs them; and you even have your favorite version of a particular work, but there's always a chance someone else will come along and give you that sit-up-and-notice reaction. That's what happened here, although I shouldn't have been surprised: Here are two of the world's finest singers performing one of the most exquisite vocal duets ever written. Although Pergolesi's Stabat Mater has been recorded many times with countertenor, there's no countertenor like Andreas Scholl, and his silken instrument is a perfect match for Barbara Bonney's golden-toned soprano. But this recording is more than just beautiful voices. Both singers seem to share an interpretive vision of the work that, along with the sensitive orchestral accompaniment, adds even more luster to the vocal virtuosity. The two solo Salve Reginas are a nice addition, giving each singer a chance to shine alone. Scholl's sublime "O clemens" should have ended the program; nothing more need be heard after this. I won't give up my still-favorite version of the Stabat Mater, with Dorothea R?schmann, Catherine Robbin, and Les Violons du Roy (Dorian), but now I can't live without this one, either.
-David Vernier (www.classicstoday.com/review.asp?ReviewNum=432)
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Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Stabat Mater - Salve Regina in F minor - Salve Regina in A minor
Born in 1710 Giovanni Battista Pergolesi enjoyed perhaps the shortest life of all notable composers, dying (possibly of tuberculosis) at just twenty-six - nine years younger than Mozart and five younger than Schubert. Yet his was a busy career that saw, among other things, the composition of ten works for the theatres of Naples and Rome. But it lasted a mere six years and attracted only modest attention in his lifetime. "The instant his death was known," however, "all Italy manifested an eager desire to hear and possess his productions," wrote the well-travelled commentator Charles Burney. Pergolesi's much-admired opera Olimpiade was revived in several Italian cities and in London, and Paris heard his celebrated comedy La serva padrona (The maid as mistress) in 1746, and again in 1752, when it ignited the controversy (known as the Querelle des bouffons) between traditional French opera and Italian comic opera. For Italophiles like the philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, its freshness and melodic grace conclusively demonstrated the superiority of the Italian opera over the more rigorous "lyric tragedy" of the French.
Other contemporary critics shared Rousseau's enthusiasm for the composer. The Spanish theorist Arteaga found in Pergolesi's music "simplicity coupled with nobility of style, truth of sentiment, naturalness and force of expression, purity and unity of design". The opera composer Gretry was more succinct: "Pergolesi was born, and truth was known!" Demand for Pergolesi's music quickly outstripped supply. Unscrupulous publishers responded by palming off the works of others as his own. Sometimes suspicions were aroused, but the problem of misattributions persisted until the recent new Pergolesi edition. Of the some 150 compositions in the earlier 1940s edition, only one in five is genuine.
No composition, not even La serva padrona, was more important in spreading Pergolesi's fame than the Stabat Mater. The text, of thirteenth-century origin, is strongly emotional in its retelling of the Passion from the viewpoint of the Virgin Mary. It had always been popular in Naples, particularly in a version by Alessandro Scarlatti that was regularly performed during Lent; Pergolesi's setting was apparently intended to replace Scarlatti's. But it soon travelled well beyond Naples to become the most frequently published work in the eighteenth century. No less a figure than Bach was among the composers who made adaptations of it, and its popularity has endured without interruption to this day.
Written, or at least completed, in the Franciscan monastery in Pozzuoli, where Pergolesi spent his final two months, the Stabat Mater, like Mozart's Requiem, has always attracted attention as a religious work from a young composer near death. But it was also the first sacred work in the galant style, exemplifying that style's lean textures and emphasis on melody, to win wide dissemination. Not everyone approved of the way it cast the old, learned style of church music in the shade. The famous theorist and composer Padre Martini concluded that the Stabat Mater had the same musical vocabulary as La serva padrona and, therefore, was not respectful of the seriousness of the text. It is a comment that seems strange given the prevalence of the minor mode and the many points where the voices compete imitatively or intertwine. On the other hand, there are moments like the "Quae moerebat", with its bouncy rhythms so typical of operas of the day, all the more telling here in conjunction with Andreas Scholl's seamless legato. In any case, Padre Martini's view found few followers. He may have been right that the idiom is largely that of opera, but its resources are powerfully exploited in the service of the text's pathos. Most commentators marvelled at how this pathos could be expressed so intensely yet through such simple means. Rousseau found the opening number to be "the most perfect and touching duet to come from the pen of any composer". It is a comment that seems especially apt when the voices blend and exchange phrases as exquisitely as those of Scholl and Barbara Bonney.
Of the various settings of the Salve Regina that have been attributed to Pergolesi, only the two heard here are authentic. The text lacks the sombre tone of the Stabat Mater, yet the music shows distinct similarities. Compare, for instance, the opening bars of the three different works, each with a rising melodic line against an active bass. Like the Stabat Mater, the Salve Regina in F minor is a product of the final weeks at Pozzuoli; accounts differ as to which of the two is Pergolesi's final work. It was originally written for soprano, in C minor, but was soon taken up by altos in the version heard here, which circulated widely. Pergolesi sometimes singles out words for special treatment, strikingly so in the case of the ascending chromatic line at "lacrimarum valle" (vale of tears), an effect heightened by Scholl's smooth, even delivery. The other Salve Regina, for soprano, in A minor, is less well known yet no less appealing. The opening of the "Ad te clamamus", with its coloratura passages, is perhaps the most overtly operatic moment of the disc, yet Barbara Bonney's luminous singing does not call undue attention to it. The relatively sunny mood continues in the "Eja ergo" and also colours the outer movements despite their minor tonality.
- George Loomis