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Scarlatti: Stabat Mater, Missa / Alessandrini

Release Date: 10/30/2007 
Label:  Naive   Catalog #: 30446   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Alessandro ScarlattiAntonio VivaldiDomenico Scarlatti
Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

D. SCARLATTI Stabat mater à 10. Missa à 4 Rinaldo Alessandrini, cond; Concerto Italiano NAÏVE 30446 (54:38 Text and Translation)

Another midprice reissue in which the original Opus 111 jewel box (OP 30248) has been enclosed in a Naïve slipcase, this was never reviewed here when it appeared five years ago, three years after it was first recorded. The Stabat mater is sometimes characterized as a work for Read more two five-part choirs, but the composer manipulates the 10 voices much more subtly than that. It has been recorded by Anthon van der Horst, Jean Turellier, Johannes Somary (3:6), Edwin Loehrer, Roger Norrington (8:6), John Poole (2: 4), John Eliot Gardiner (9:1), Francis Grier (10:1; CD in 10:6), Gerhard Weinberger (11:6), and Erik van Nevel (15:2), and I have heard all of these but Loehrer. Furthermore, in the last decade, Jeremy Backhouse, Frieder Bernius, Michel Corboz, Harry Christophers, Geoffroy Jourdain, László Németh, and Graham O’Reilly have appeared without soliciting reviews here. But two conflicting reviews of Stephen Cleobury’s recent recording (27:1) indicate almost no awareness of the qualities or even the existence of the alternatives. In fact, though, Cleobury is no match for van Nevel, who surpassed all previous efforts, with Poole, Loehrer, Gardiner, and Weinberger honorable runners-up.

Alessandrini’s remarkable recording offers a pointed comparison with the best of the existing versions. Like Loehrer, Gardiner, Weinberger, and van Nevel, Alessandrini uses solo voices for the 10 parts, but the Italianate interpretation is much warmer and more sensuous than are the others. This may recommend it to some listeners, though I prefer the restraint that van Nevel brings to his interpretation, and even the vigor of Weinberger has something to recommend it. Even so, these qualities are not exclusive, and they may overlap in different parts of the three versions. Poole’s small choir may have the best sounding version using more than one voice to a part (his Sony CD has never shown up here). The large choirs of boys and men under Grier and Cleobury suffer badly by comparison.

The Mass has been recorded by Éva Kollár (13:6), Maurice Bourbon, Pavel Baxa (21:1), and Florian Heyerick. Copied into an ornate manuscript in Madrid just before his death but otherwise something of a mystery, it is commonly described as the composer’s only Mass, but The New Grove Dictionary, Second Edition lists three different masses under his name. Besides this one, there is a Missa La stella for four voices recorded by Harry Christophers and Graham O’Reilly, both of them coupled with the Stabat mater . There is also an incomplete Mass in D for double choir, but the O’Reilly recording (identified as “Missa La Stella for double choir”) is probably not this. It may be regretted that Alessandrini did not choose to add another work to extend the playing time, but this is still one of the best ways to hear these two works.

FANFARE: J. F. Weber
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Works on This Recording

Stabat mater by Alessandro Scarlatti
Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Mass in G minor "Madrid Mass" by Domenico Scarlatti
Conductor:  Rinaldo Alessandrini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Concerto Italiano
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Spain 

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