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Cornelius: Stabat Mater, Requiem / Piquemal, Borst, Mayeur

Release Date: 02/09/2011 
Label:  Harmonia Mundi   Catalog #: 905206  
Composer:  Peter Cornelius
Performer:  Jacqueline MayeurFrédéric VassarDanielle BorstJean-Luc Viala
Conductor:  Michel Piquemal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Régional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'AzurChoeur régional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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This CD is reissued by ArkivMusic.

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Michel Piquemal's enthusiastic and sympathetic conducting does well for a near-masterpiece by a composer overdue for reappraisal.

Peter Cornelius is overdue for a reappraisal, especially in England. Though the scores of his operas Gunlöd and Der Cid do not suggest revival is likely, the occasional production of Der Barber von Bagdad reveals a work of great charm and intelligence, a piece virtually unique in understanding what Berlioz had to offer German comic opera. (Berlioz was very touched by the care Cornelius put into the translation of Benvenuto Cellini and L'enfance du Christ, as his warm, respectful letters show.) Even more occasional performances of the songs reveal a touching and tender quality that can,
Read more admittedly, deteriorate into the sentimental but that can also be very fresh and engaging.

His Stabat mater is a fine work that could well find a home in the choral repertory, and more than deserves its revival on this recording. In it, many of Cornelius's gifts come together—his lyrical charm, his gift for chromatic harmony, his vivid response to pious texts, his fine ear for choral textures. The influences are those to be found in much of his music, and include the Brahms of the Deutsches Requiem, the Liszt of Christus (and even of some ofthe later, more exploratory works), and, surprisingly, the Verdi of the Requiem. There is much less Wagner than might be expected from this gentle, likeable man who sat at the Meister's feet but managed to avoid being trampled under them. The result is not so muddled as might appear. Cornelius has individual ideas, and controls them well; and his division of the poem's 20 verses into ten sections works well dramatically.

At the centre is No. 6, a grave, beautiful a capella setting of the "Sancta Maria"; and around it, Cornelius is skilful in finding contrasting ideas for his paired verses. The "Pro peccatis" is set as a choral fugue, tense and agitated, and ending with a broken, despairing version of the subject at the Saviour's death. "Quis est homo" has a cello obbligato weaving tenderly around soprano and bass soloists, and "Eja, mater" produces a fine, passionate soprano solo. This is well sung by Danielle Borst, though neither soloists nor chorus are in general outstanding, and are indeed somewhat overtaxed in places, while the recording is rather murky of texture. Never mind: Michel Piquemal's enthusiastic and sympathetic conducting does well for a work more than meriting his care. [T]he Requiem based on Hebbel's "Seele, vergiss sie nicht"...is an odd work for Cornelius to have set, but presumably his deep affection and admiration for Hebbel led him to accept such a strongly agnostic text in the poet's memory. It is remarkable not only for the beautifully sensitive choral writing, but for a skilful use of chromatic harmony to lend key words an acute tinge of meaning and then turn in a new expressive direction... [This] record, in the Stabat mater, includes something not far short of a masterpiece.

-- Gramophone [4/1990]
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Works on This Recording

Stabat Mater by Peter Cornelius
Performer:  Jacqueline Mayeur (Mezzo Soprano), Frédéric Vassar (Bass), Danielle Borst (Soprano),
Jean-Luc Viala (Tenor)
Conductor:  Michel Piquemal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Régional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur,  Choeur régional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Requiem "Seele, vergiss sie nicht" by Peter Cornelius
Performer:  Jean-Luc Viala (Tenor), Danielle Borst (Soprano), Frédéric Vassar (Bass),
Jacqueline Mayeur (Mezzo Soprano)
Conductor:  Michel Piquemal
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Orchestre Régional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur,  Choeur régional de Cannes-Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur
Period: Romantic 
Written: 1863-1872; Munich, Germany 

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 What was Gramophone thinking? February 11, 2012 By Larry Kinsley (Lakeland, FL) See All My Reviews "I have given this disc 1 star based not on the music included but on the Gramophone 1990 review Arkiv has offered with it. Regarding Cornelius's Stabat Mater, it is difficult to know what on earth the reviewer was thinking at the time. Cornelius wrote the S.M. in 1849 (several internet sites confirm this), 3 years BEFORE he moved to Weimar and came under the influence of Liszt, and even later Wagner. Liszt's Christus and Brahms' German Requiem were both written in the 1860s, so it takes quite a stretch of the imagination to say that Cornelius's work was influenced by them. In reality, it was written when Cornelius was only 25, consists of 10 brief sections 3 of which are unaccompanied, and is hardly representative of the composer's more mature works starting with his Barber of Baghdad written in the 1850s. Only the Requiem also on the disc is a mature work, and it is not even 9 minutes long. A warning to anyone who purchases this recording based on the Gramophone review!" Report Abuse
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