"…All three works are superbly played here by the brilliantly nimble Stefan Schilli, and Mariss Jansons and the Bavarian orchestra give him vivid support. I cannot think of a more enticing triptych of modern oboe concertos from any other source." ~Grammophone
Pergolesi's Stabat Mater, his achingly lovely swan song, was most likely written with two male singers in mind. Yet it's not often recorded that way, and the present release, with a genuine male soprano and alto, represents something rarer still, perhaps because not a lot of male singers can pull off the higher ranges convincingly without belting. Both the singers are billed as countertenors on the album, but Romanian-born Valer Barna-Sabadus, who looks like he just stepped out of a rock & roll dive, is a true soprano. Check out his soaring lines in the "Cujus animan," track 2, for the real news on this album. It's not that he delivers operatic power; plenty of countertenors can do that. It's the lightness and balance – even a certain soberness – that fit the work to its intended church ambiance.
The world premieres of Iolanta and The Nutcracker took place on 18 December 1892 at St. Petersburg’s Mariinsky Theatre. “The execution of both,” wrote the composer to his brother Anatoly the next day, “was magnificent, and that of the ballet perhaps too magnificent – its brilliance made one’s eyes tired.” Gustav Mahler conducted the first performance of the one-act opera outside Russia on 3 January 1893 in Hamburg and also directed the Viennese premiere of Iolanta on 22 March 1900.