Holiday Shop


WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Pergolesi: Marian Vespers / Higginbottom, Daneman, Kiss


Release Date: 01/28/2003 
Label:  Erato   Catalog #: 46684   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Alastair RossJoseph CrouchPavlo BeznosiukAlison McGillivray,   ... 
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient MusicOxford New College Choir
Number of Discs: 2 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 1 Hours 58 Mins. 

In Stock: Usually ships in 24 hours.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

Pergolesi did not, as far as anyone knows, actually compose a 'Marian Vespers', but at the end of 1732 he is thought to have been commissioned to write music for a New Year festive event of that kind. He was then 22 years old, and died four years later. Whether or not some, or any, of the music recorded here was actually performed at S Maria della Stella in Naples on December 31, 1732 is uncertain, though there are several scholars who believe that much of the music may have been. What the ingenious compilers of this set have sought to do is to reconstruct a Marian Vespers liturgy, using Pergolesi's music of various periods. Thus the introit (Deus in agjutorium) and probably the three vesper psalms (Dixit Dominus, Confitebor and Laudate Read more puert), of which some may have been written be earlier than 1732, could have been used on that occasion, but the rest has been put together by Malcolm Bruno and Edward Higginbottom from other music by Pergolesi. The well-known 1736 Salve regina is used as the Marian antiphon; the Mugnificat and the hymn are evidently arranged from a secular cantata (which I find puzzling, as I thought the secular cantatas didn't use chorus). Three of Pergolesi's sonatas are used as instrumental interludes and postlude, and the Amen is drawn from the introit. The idea is to give, within the liturgical framework, a conspectus of his development as a composer.

It doesn't exactly do that, because his most important compositions were of course his operas and his intermezzos. And without firmer evidence I would be a shade sceptical about some of the datings suggested here on stylistic grounds. But the set does give a clear picture of the range of his church music, and there is no question but that it is highly individual and often very appealing. Everyone knows the Stabat mater, of course; here the only piece in that vein is the Salve regina, written at the same time. It is performed here with solo strings, which underlines the intimate character of the music. Sophie Daneman sings the opening item very expressively, and beautifully catches the pathetic tone of the 'Ad te suspiramus', while Noemi Kiss brings a rather firmer line to two of the movements.

Pergolesi was the first, or among the first, of his generation to espouse a truly galant style in his church music, with his tuneful, often slightly repetitive lines, his elegantly shaped and rather short-breathed phrases, his expressive alternations of major and minor, his graceful appoggiaturas and his frequent cadences. He could also, and sometimes did, write sturdy and vigorous counterpoint, as in several of his settings here of the doxology — in the Confitebor, for example, where `Sicut erat in principio' Os it was in the beginning') echoes the opening of the motet; in the Dixit those words are the basis of quite an extended fugue.

But it is as music of sensibility, of affecting emotion, that Pergolesi's is most individual. And you may find, as I was inclined to, that it is apt to get a shade cloying over nearly two hours. I don't wish to echo the complaints that his music is oversugared, but I con see what critics mean when they say that. You do need the aural equivalent of a slightly sweet tooth to enjoy it consistently. That said, there is no doubting that Pergolesi sounded a new voice in early 18th-century music, and there are a lot of movements here that are delightful and quite individual in tone: in the Dixit, the `Virgam virtutis' with its rising appoggiaturas and the `Domine a dextris' with its lively soloists' dialogue and its expressive suspensions; in the Confitebor the sombre `Redemptionern misit'; in the Laudate pueri the floating, shapely line of the opening movement (exquisitely done by Daneman) and the charm of the next (some lovely singing from Kiss).! could cite a dozen more. On the other hand, turning to the reconstructions, I thought the hymn, Lucis creator, a dull piece, and some of the Magnificat rather routine. The string sonatas both have very accomplished performances, with some particularly graceful violin playing in the opening movement of that piece and eloquent cello playing in the third.

Altogether, then, an extremely interesting and enjoyable set, with admirable supporting soloists, a first-rate, clean and responsive, choir and orchestra, and thoroughly idiomatic direction from Edward Higginbottom.

-- Stanley Sadie, Gramophone [12/2002]


This album was nominated for the 2004 Grammy Award for Best Choral Performance.
Read less

Works on This Recording

1.
Sonata for Violin and Basso Continuo by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ), Joseph Crouch (Cello), Pavlo Beznosiuk (Violin)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 4 Minutes 10 Secs. 
2.
Sonata for Cello and Basso Continuo by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Alastair Ross (Organ), Joseph Crouch (Cello), Alison McGillivray (Cello)
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 42 Secs. 
3.
Sonata for Organ by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Edward Higginbottom (Organ)
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 46 Secs. 
4.
Domine ad adjuvandum by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Simon Birchall (Bass), Noémi Kiss (Soprano), Sophie Daneman (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1732; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 5 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5.
Dixit Dominus by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Julie Cooper (Soprano), William Purefoy (Countertenor), Robert [Bass Voice] MacDonald (Bass),
Sophie Daneman (Soprano), Simon Birchall (Bass), Noémi Kiss (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1732; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 20 Minutes 7 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6.
Confiebor Tibi, Domine by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Noémi Kiss (Soprano), Sophie Daneman (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 17 Minutes 24 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7.
Laudate pueri by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Sophie Daneman (Soprano), Noémi Kiss (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: circa 1732; Naples, Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 3 Minutes 27 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
8.
Lucis Creator optime by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Sophie Daneman (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 18th Century; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 6 Minutes 59 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
9.
Magnificat by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Noémi Kiss (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 12 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
Notes: This selection is a reconstruction by Malcolm Bruno. The composition is attributed to Pergolesi and believed to have been composed by Durante.  
10.
Salve Regina by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Performer:  Noémi Kiss (Soprano), Sophie Daneman (Soprano)
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 13 Minutes 39 Secs. 
11.
Domine ad adjuvandum: Excerpt(s) by Giovanni Battista Pergolesi
Conductor:  Edward Higginbottom
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Academy of Ancient Music,  Oxford New College Choir
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1732; Italy 
Date of Recording: 07/2002 
Venue:  St. Jude's Church, London, England 
Length: 1 Minutes 21 Secs. 
Notes: This selection is arranged with different words and entitled "Ora pro nobis" by Malcolm Bruno. 

Customer Reviews

Be the first to review this title
Review This Title
Review This Title Share on Facebook




YOU MUST BE A SUBSCRIBER TO LISTEN TO ARKIVMUSIC STREAMING.
TRY IT NOW FOR FREE!
Sign up now for two weeks of free access to the world's best classical music collection. Keep listening for only $19.95/month - thousands of classical albums for the price of one! Learn more about ArkivMusic Streaming
Aleady a subscriber? Sign In