Notes and Editorial Reviews
Rossini's Stabat Mater is one of the least devotional pieces of religious music ever penned, and I'm not complaining. It's full of the composer's best, late-style writing, with plenty of virtuoso vocal lines, great tunes, and exciting choruses. It has been recorded often, and the tenor's difficult aria, "Cujus animam", with its exposed, wicked high-D-flat, has been recorded by tenors since the invention of the phonograph. This new recording is very good, among the top three in the current catalog.
The performance takes a decidedly Romantic view of the work (as Chailly often does with Rossini), using a big orchestra and chorus and lots of grandly operatic gestures, and the singers are big-voiced and extroverted. The
Dutch players and singers are superbly schooled and make joyful, full sounds, and there's never a dull moment.
The soloists please in different degrees. Barbara Frittoli is an exciting singer, and her "Inflammatus" is indeed flaming, with big high-Cs. But her vibrato is just on the cusp of getting in the way of the music; here and elsewhere it trembles when at times a purer tone would be welcome. The normally dull Sonia Ganassi is milkily smooth in the mezzo part, and the two women meld well. Michele Pertusi's bass-baritone is the right weight for the music but it dries up somewhat at top--but this is not a big problem. Giuseppe Sabbatini's tenorizing is pretty swell. His voice may not be as beautiful as Pavarotti's or, heaven forbid, Björling's, but he gets through the "Cujus animam" gloriously. Not only does he sing expressively and securely and modulate his dynamics throughout, but his final ascent to and from the high note, including an exquisite diminuendo near the phrase's end, is taken in a staggering single breath, almost a half-minute in length. Some listeners may prefer Chung's rendition on DG (with Organasova and Bartoli), Kertesz's on Decca (with Pavarotti), or the dark-horse Marcus Creed's terrific period-instrument account on Harmonia Mundi, but in all, this one makes a solid and pleasing alternative.
--Robert Levine, ClassicsToday.com Read less
Works on This Recording
Stabat mater by Gioachino Rossini
Sonia Ganassi (Mezzo Soprano),
Giuseppe Sabbatini (Tenor),
Michele Pertusi (Bass),
Barbara Frittoli (Soprano)
Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra,
Netherlands Radio Chorus
Written: 1832/1842; Italy
Length: 55 Minutes 39 Secs.
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