Notes and Editorial Reviews
Richard Hickox, cond; Helen Field (sop); Della Jones (mez); Arthur Davies (ten); Roderick Earle (bs); London S Ch; City of London Snf
CHANDOS 10781 (59:10
Text and Translation)
Since so many of Richard Hickox’s recordings were of British music, the appearance of this disc back in 1989 excited great interest. How would he approach the music of a romantic composer, particularly one whose work was, at that time, not particularly respected for dramatic verity?
The answer can be heard on this disc—to my mind, the finest recording of Rossini’s piece ever made.
One could quibble that soprano Helen Field’s voice does not have the “power” to give “Inflammatus ad accensus” its accustomed heft, but in the 20th century we were too used to dramatic sopranos singing this music. Historically speaking, it was probably sung originally by a voice much like Field’s, a lyric soprano of modest size but with a good “cut” in the upper range. Other than that, however, I can’t imagine how anyone could quibble with this performance. Welsh tenor Arthur Davies sings an absolutely splendid “Cujus animam,” surely one of the most demanding tenor test-pieces in existence, and bass Roderick Earle—along with the chorus—gives a particularly solemn, and quite moving, performance of “Eja, Mater,” a piece too often performed in a light and flippant manner.
But, as I noted in my review of Hickox’s recording of the Britten
he was a conductor who left nothing to chance, which is why I admired him so much. Truthfully, as much as I love this recording, there’s not much more to say. Perfection doesn’t call for too much comment.
FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
Works on This Recording
Stabat mater by Gioachino Rossini
Della Jones (),
Roderick Earle (),
Helen [Soprano Vocals] Field (),
Arthur [Tenor Vocal] Davies ()
Written: 1832/1842; Italy
Venue: St Jude's Church, Central Square, London
Length: 57 Minutes 31 Secs.
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