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Sacred Baroque Masterpieces

Bach,J.s. / Crowe / Musiciens Du Louvre Grenoble
Release Date: 10/30/2012 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 5313   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Claudio MonteverdiJohann Sebastian BachGiovanni Battista PergolesiAlessandro Scarlatti,   ... 
Performer:  Roberta InvernizziDaniele CarnovichMonica PiccininiAnna Simboli,   ... 
Conductor:  Rinaldo AlessandriniMarc MinkowskiBernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto ItalianoLes Musiciens du LouvreEnsemble a Sei Voci,   ... 
Number of Discs: 6 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

This boxed set gathers together some of the most renowned sacred works from the baroque era: Bach's B minor mass, Monteverdi's Vespers, Pergolesi and Scarlatti's Stabat Mater, Allegri's Miserere. These recordings are best sellers from the Naive catalogue and feature top-level artists, including one of England's most respected baroque sopranos - Lucy Crowe.

Reviews of some of the original recordings that make up this set:

Bach: Mass in B minor
[One] thing you may notice is the roster of singers, 10 strong. Minkowski notes Rifkin’s hypothesis that “most of Bach’s vocal works . . . were performed not by the choir . . . but by a group of highly trained soloists under the direction of the
Read more Kantor. The theory is one thing, and I must say it convinces me. Actual practice is another.” To reconcile these two things, Minkowski settled on a ripieno of 10 singers with soloists emerging from the ensemble. His guiding principle for which to use is basically how it sounds. He acknowledges the obvious fact that the choice of soloists is crucial to the whole enterprise, and fortunately he has chosen well. For his instrumental ensemble Minkowski opted to use “a real orchestra,” with a 4-4-2-2-1 string complement and winds as required by the scoring. For the continuo he alternates a harpsichord with the organ.

So how does it sound? Actually, very good. Minkowski, formerly a bassoonist in Philippe Herreweghe’s ensemble, has emerged as one of the leading Baroque specialists of the day. His is a dramatic conception of the Mass—not overtly theatrical, but in the sense that this is not absolute music, but music whose function is to illuminate the text. He does employ contrasting tempos and is not averse to rhetorical flourishes. It’s a convincing, non-doctrinaire realization of his vision of this supreme masterpiece, well worth hearing.

FANFARE: George Chien

Pergolesi, Scarlatti: Stabat Maters
In these performances Alessandrini uses adult women, and the contralto is a clear contrast to the soprano, with the minimum of five strings and organ (supported by archlute). The tempos range from slow to very fast for an overall length close to the shortest on disc, and the singers ornament their lines freely.

Juxtaposing the two works is an interesting demonstration of their stylistic difference, showing that the older work needed to be replaced, barely 20 years after it was written, by one more up-to-date in style. The text of the medieval sequence has varied in its musical settings, as I demonstrated in an article 10 years ago, and these two are different enough that the texts are printed separately (Domenico Scarlatti set still another variant).

The choice of this disc may complement other versions of the Pergolesi that use a treble or a countertenor in any combination with soprano or contralto (or mezzo), but none of them have as generous a coupling as this does, making this disc quite uniquely desirable. The original recommendation stands.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber

Monteverdi: Vespro Della Beata Vergine
This is a distinctive approach to the 1610 masterpiece, the largest work of music published up to that time...It presents the complete Vespers in published order, including both Magnificats but not the Missa In illo tempore. No extraneous material, such as chant antiphons or works by contemporary composers, is included...Alessandrini uses 12 singers and 18 players, notably omitting a choral component. The Sonata is assigned to a solo soprano...How does it sound? Exquisite, to my ears, a truly satisfying traversal of the score. A difficult movement such as “Duo Seraphim,” which is sometimes handled sloppily, is tossed off with élan by the three tenors...We have had an embarrassment of riches in this work for many years, apart from the complex choices to be made among different approaches to its realization. At the moment, I’m enormously pleased with everything Alessandrini has done. If you cherish this masterpiece, give it a hearing. It’s one of the truly successful versions.

– J. F. Weber, FANFARE Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Vespro della Beata Vergine by Claudio Monteverdi
Performer:  Roberta Invernizzi (Soprano), Daniele Carnovich (Bass), Monica Piccinini (Soprano),
Anna Simboli (Soprano), Sara Mingardo (Alto), Francesco Ghelardini (Countertenor),
Luca Dordolo (Tenor), Vincenzo Di Donato (Tenor), Gianluca Ferrarini (Tenor),
Pietro Spagnoli (Baritone), Furio Zanasi (Baritone), Antonio Abete (Bass)
Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1610; Mantua, Italy 
Language: Latin 
2.
Mass in B minor, BWV 232 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Performer:  Colin Balzer (Tenor), Lucy Crowe (Soprano), Terry Wey (Countertenor),
Luca Tittoto (Bass), Julia Lezhneva (Soprano), Markus Brutscher (Tenor),
Christian Immler (Bass), Joanne Lunn (Soprano), Nathalie Stutzmann (Alto),
Blandine Staskiewicz (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Marc Minkowski
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Les Musiciens du Louvre
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1747-49; Leipzig, Germany 
3.
Stabat Mater by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Sara Mingardo (Alto), Gemma Bertagnolli (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1736; Pozzuoli, Italy 
4.
Stabat mater by Alessandro Scarlatti
Performer:  Sara Mingardo (Alto), Gianfranco Bertagna (Soprano)
Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
5.
Miserere mei Deus: Miserere mei by Gregorio Allegri
Conductor:  Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble a Sei Voci,  A Sei Voci
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Benedictine Priory, Vivoin, Haute Maine, 
Length: 14 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6.
Statuit ei Dominus by Anonymous
Conductor:  Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble a Sei Voci
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Benedictine Priory, Vivoin, Haute Maine, 
Length: 2 Minutes 49 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7.
Missa "Vidi turbam magnam" by Gregorio Allegri
Conductor:  Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble a Sei Voci
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Benedictine Priory, Vivoin, Haute Maine, 
Length: 19 Minutes 3 Secs. 
8.
Exaltet eum in Ecclesia plebis by Anonymous
Conductor:  Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble a Sei Voci
Period: Medieval 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Benedictine Priory, Vivoin, Haute Maine, 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
9.
De ore prudentis by Gregorio Allegri
Performer:  Dominique Ferran (Positive)
Conductor:  Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble a Sei Voci
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1623; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Benedictine Priory, Vivoin, Haute Maine, 
Length: 1 Minutes 52 Secs. 
10.
Repleti sunt omnes by Gregorio Allegri
Performer:  Dominique Ferran (Positive)
Conductor:  Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble a Sei Voci
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1623; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Benedictine Priory, Vivoin, Haute Maine, 
Length: 1 Minutes 39 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
11.
Cantate domino by Gregorio Allegri
Performer:  Dominique Ferran (Positive)
Conductor:  Bernard Fabre-Garrus
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Ensemble a Sei Voci
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1623; Italy 
Date of Recording: 11/1993 
Venue:  Benedictine Priory, Vivoin, Haute Maine, 
Length: 3 Minutes 2 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

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