Baroque music is not the usual province of soprano Anna Netrebko, or contralto Marianna Pizzolato, or conductor Antonio Pappano, or the Orchestra dell'Accademia Nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Roma, so the listener might approach this tribute to the 300th anniversary of Giovanni Battista Pergolesi with some skepticism, but the performers do a terrific job. The orchestra uses modern instruments, so this is never going to be mistaken for a recording by Baroque specialists, but everyone involved approaches the challenge with such sensitivity and such evident excitement that listeners who don't demand absolute adherence to cutting-edge developments in early music practice are likely to be swept up.
This release is dedicated to some of the most famous settings of the Stabat mater, revealing the genre's varying treatment by composers over the centuries. From Palestrina's effective use of polyphony to Pergolesi's unusually sparse instrumental accompaniment, we move forward in time to contributions by Vivaldi and Haydn. These compositions rank among some of the most famous and affective music ever composed.
As a composer Pergolesi’s productive career began at the age of twenty, and by twenty-six (March 1736) he had died of tuberculosis. During his lifetime Pergolesi’s fame was restricted, in the main, to Rome and Naples, yet after his death, his reputation eclipsed most other composers in the second half of the eighteenth century. The whole of Europe developed an increasing curiosity for his compositions. His posthumous celebrity status was such a magnet in the music world that, hoping to reap large financial profits, publishers and opera directors alike attributed his name to hundreds of vocal and instrumental works by lesser-known composers. Following Pergolesi’s death the Stabat Mater became one of the most celebrated and frequently printed works of the 18th century.
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
As the old saying goes, "the third time's the charm." This is indeed the third time the German label Accent has issued this coupling of Domenico Scarlatti's Stabat Mater with João Rodrigues Esteves' Missa a oito voces. The first time was in 1990, when the recording by Currende under the leadership of Erik van Nevel was new, and the second in 1998 as part of a box set containing this and several recordings by Concerto Palatino. No complaints here, though, as this is one of the finest discs Accent has to offer.
New love, position, power, revenge, disguise, mistaken identity, complications and passionate devotion – the full spectrum of baroque opera seria is here in this new recording of Pergolesi’s ‘Adriano In Siria’. Franco Fagioli leads the cast, alongside Romina Basso, Yuriy Mynenko, Dilyara Idrisova, Juan Sancho and Cigdem Soyarslan, accompanied by the exuberant Polish orchestra Capella Cracoviensis under the baton of Jan Tomasz Adamus. Famed for his Stabat Mater, Pergolesi died aged just 26 but had already completed four opera seria; ‘Adriano in Siria’ is the third of these and has a libretto by Metastasio.
New love, position, power, revenge, disguise, mistaken identity, complications and passionate devotion the full spectrum of baroque opera seria is here in this brilliant, vivid setting of a powerful and moving story.
Pergolesi - a musical genius cut off in his prime. Famed for his Stabat Mater, even though he died aged just 26 he had already completed four opera seria; Adriano in Siria is the third of these. Composing for only around a decade before he succumbed to tuberculosis aged 26, Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was so well known for his music that the instant that his death was known, all Italy manifested an eager desire to hear and possess his productions …