Two of Bach’s finest cantatas, both for solo alto, composed in Weimar (1714) and Leipzig (1726) respectively, are here coupled with Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater of 1736, the eighteenth century’s favourite sacred work. The gap between austere Lutheran piety and searing Mediterranean emotionalism might seem unbridgeable. Yet Bach so admired the composition of his Neapolitan colleague that he made his own ‘parody’ of it to a German text. On this recording, La Nuova Musica and its two eminent soloists display equal mastery of both idioms.
In Lucy Crowe and Tim Mead the ensemble have both period specialists and singers withRead more enough muscle and tone to temper stylistic precision with human drama. Together they lead a performance that is both meditation and a vivid sacred drama. Bates and his ensemble take an active part in the drama too. A performance as sophisticated emotionally as it is musically.
Mead offers articulate readings of the cantatas, his voice (with its faint echoes of the young Andreas Scholl) is beautifully controlled, its reedy, instrumental quality yielding lovely dialogues with the ensemble. Crowe’s warm and agile soprano suits the mellifluous Italian idiom. Bates has lined up a crack team of instrumentalists, with eloquent solo contributions by oboist Patrick Beaugiraud and organist Silas Wollston.
Widerstehe doch der Sünde, BWV 54by Johann Sebastian Bach Performer:
Tim Mead (Countertenor)
La Nuova Musica
Period: Baroque Written: 1714; Cöthen, Germany
Stabat Materby Giovanni Battista Pergolesi Performer:
Tim Mead (Countertenor),
Lucy Crowe (Soprano)
La Nuova Musica
Period: Baroque Written: 1736; Pozzuoli, Italy