WGBH Radio WGBH Radio theclassicalstation.org

Stabat Mater & Motets To The Virgin Mary / Philippe Jaroussky, Ensemble Artaserse


Release Date: 05/04/2010 
Label:  Virgin Classics   Catalog #: 93907   Spars Code: n/a 
Composer:  Giovanni Felice SancesGiovanni Paolo CaprioliGirolamo CasatiPier Francesco Cavalli,   ... 
Performer:  Philippe JarousskyMarie-Nicole Lemieux
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Low Stock: Currently 3 or fewer in stock. Usually ships in 24 hours, unless stock becomes depleted.  

Notes and Editorial Reviews

If you didn’t purchase this disc when it was first released, you now get a second chance. Don't miss it.

When I received this disc I was expecting a new recording. In fact this is a reissue of one released only four years ago. I'm not sure what to make of this. Maybe the first release was so successful that it was soon out of print. I can understand that, because the repertoire is exciting and the performances are very good. 

The veneration of the Virgin Mary began in the 4th century and became increasingly important during the ensuing centuries. It led to a large number of compositions on texts connected to Mary and the various stages and aspects of her life. The main texts are the five so-called
Read more 'Marian antiphons': Alma redemptoris mater, Ave Regina coelorum, Regina coeli, Sub tuum praesidium and Salve Regina. Another important text is the Stabat mater, a poem which expresses the grief of Mary about the passion of her son, and probably dates from the 13th century.
 
This anthology presents a sequence of Marian motets written in Italy during the 17th century. It is interesting to look at the views of the Church on music for the liturgy. In 1562 the Council of Trent stated that during mass "all music containing, whether in the singing or at the organ, anything lascivious or impure" should be avoided. At the same time liturgical music should become simpler and their texts easier to understand. It was especially the oeuvre of Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina which was considered the most ideal expression of the views of the Church.
 
But one could argue that the stile nuovo which made its entrance in Italy around 1600 was an even more appropriate expression of those views. In particular the predominance of the text over the music, which was advocated by Giulio Caccini, and his ideal of recitar cantando - a speech-like way of singing - were highly suited to communicating the text to an audience. At the same time, this style tended to blur the boundaries between sacred and secular music. And that increased the danger of the entrance of "lascivious" and "impure" influences into a sacred realm.
 
The programme here reflects the musical forms which composers used to express the veneration of the Virgin Mary as well as the changes in the style of composing during the 17th century. Jean-François Lattarico, in his programme notes, tends to simplify the character of the music of the first half of the century, when he writes that Alessandro Grandi, like his teacher Claudio Monteverdi, abandoned the polyphonic techniques of the prima prattica. In fact, both aimed at blending elements from the stile antico and the stile nuovo in their compositions. The first item of the programme, Grandi's Salve Regina, attests to that. The vocal line is written in the style of the monody, but the instrumental parts are written in polyphonic style. In the closing episode the voice is completely embedded in the polyphonic texture. That is also the case in Casati's Sanctissima virgo.
 
In particular the compositions which date from around the middle of the century show the evolution to greater independence of the music from the text. Cavalli's O quam suavis and Ave Regina coelorum by Mattioli are just two examples. In the latter half of the century this development increases, as the compositions by Bassani and Colonna consist of a sequence of recitatives and arias.
 
The Italian music of the 17th century, whether secular or sacred, is often dramatic and emotional. This is a great challenge for the interpreters. Philippe Jaroussky has a wonderful voice, among whose features are a great flexibility and a wide range. That is especially suitable for the many and often virtuosic ornaments which are a feature of this repertoire. There is no lack of emotion in his interpretations. He goes a long way towards achieving ideal interpretations and in this he is effectively supported by his Ensemble Artaserse.
 
Even so, I feel there is more in this music than comes off in these performances. There should be much more ornamentation; Jaroussky is too sparing in this department. He makes use of the messa di voce now and then, and again I feel he should have used it more frequently. Composers often made use of the figure of the esclamazione on words like "O" (O quam tu pulchra es, O intemerata). And I also think Jaroussky could have used a wider dynamic range in the messa di voce.
 
The recitatives in the compositions of the late 17th century are well realised, but the declamatory passages in the compositions from the first decades of the century, like Grandi's O quam tu pulchra es, are rhythmically too strict. The ideal of recitar cantando is not fully realised. I have to admit that I find it a little odd to hear a woman's voice singing the lower part in the duets. Once I got used to it, I appreciated the way Philippe Jaroussky and Marie-Nicole Lemieux sing Grandi's O intemerata. I was less impressed by Legrenzi's Ave Regina coelorum, where Ms Lemieux's vibrato spoilt my enjoyment.
 
Despite my critical remarks I think this is a very interesting and captivating recording. The programming is imaginative, as it contains compositions of a number of hardly-known composers and delivers an interesting survey of the compositional developments during the 17th century. If you didn’t purchase this disc when it was first released, you now get a second chance. Don't miss it.
 
-- Johan van Veen, MusicWeb International
Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Vulnerasti cor meum by Giovanni Paolo Caprioli
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1635 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
2. Sacrae cantiones, Op. 1: Sanctissima Virgo by Girolamo Casati
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1625 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 16 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
3. O quam suavis et decora by Pier Francesco Cavalli
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 4 Minutes 36 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
4. Motetti sacra, Op. 2: O caeli devota by Giovanni Paolo Colonna
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1681; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 7 Minutes 12 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
5. Motetti con sinfonie, libro primo: Salve Regina by Alessandro Grandi
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1621; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 53 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
6. O quam tu pulchra es by Alessandro Grandi
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1625; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
7. Sentimenti devoti, Op. 6: Ave Regina coelorum by Giovanni Legrenzi
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor), Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1660; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 26 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
8. Motetti: O quam suavis by Giovanni Antonio Rigatti
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1643; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 4 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
9. Ave Maris Stella by Girolamo Frescobaldi
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 17th Century; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 40 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
10. Stabat mater dolorosa by Giovanni Felice Sances
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1636; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 11 Minutes 25 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
11. Metri sacri resi armonici, in motetti (12): Corda lingua in amore by Giovanni B. Bassani
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1690; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 10 Minutes 11 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
12. Sinfonie (12): Sonata prima by Giovanni B. Bassani
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: 1683; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 8 Minutes 10 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
13. Motetti (18): O intemerata by Alessandro Grandi
Performer:  Marie-Nicole Lemieux (Alto), Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1621; Venice, Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 3 Minutes 9 Secs. 
Language: Latin 
14. Harmonia sacra: Ave Regina coelorum by Andrea Mattioli
Performer:  Philippe Jaroussky (Countertenor)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Artaserse Ensemble
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1675; Italy 
Venue:  Notre-Dame du Liban Church, Paris 
Length: 2 Minutes 57 Secs. 
Language: Latin 

Sound Samples

Salve Regina (Motetti a una, due vocie con sinfonie d'istromenti, Libro primo, 1621, A. Vincenti, Venezia)
Ave Regina coelorum (Sentimenti devoti espressi con la musica di due e tre voci, opera sesta, Libro secondo, 1660, G. Sala, Venezia)
O quam suavis (Mottetti a voce sola da diversi Eccellentissimi Autori, Libro primo, Venezia Gardano 1645)
Regina coeli laetare (Motetti a voce sola, 1643, Magni, Venezia)
Vulnerasti cor meum (Armoniae cantiones una, 2, 3, 4, 5 vocibus concinendae cum sonorum concentibus pro instrumentis, opus tertium, 1635, G. Rolla, Milano)
Inno Ave Maria Stella (Il Secondo libro di toccate, canzone, versi d'inni, magnificat, gagliarde, correnti e altre partite, d'intavolatura di cimbalo e organo di Girolamo Frescobaldi organista in San Pietro di Roma, 1637)
Stabat Mater dolorosa (Motetti, 1636)
Corda lingua in amore (Metri sacri, resi armonici in motetti a voce sola con violini, opera ottava)
O quam tu pulchra es (Cantio sacra 1628. R. Ewerhart, Köln)
Sonata prima (instr.)
O intemerata (Il secondo libro de motetti a due, tre e quattro voci, Venezia, A. Vincenti, 1627)
Ave Regina coelorum (Harmonia sacra, dedota dal concerto di salmi, motetti, inni e antifone a voce sola. Con violini. 1765, A. Gardano, Venezia)
Sanctissima Virgo (Sacrae cantiones una, duabusque vocibus coninendae, 1618, J. Cassiani, Modena)
O coeli devota (Motetti sacri a voce sola con due violini, 1681, G. Monti, Bologna)

Customer Reviews

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