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Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge & Capella Agostino Steffani - Allegri: Miserere; Pergolesi & Caldara: Stabat Mater (1998)

Posted By: ArlegZ
Choir of St John’s College, Cambridge & Capella Agostino Steffani - Allegri: Miserere; Pergolesi & Caldara: Stabat Mater (1998)

George Guest, The Choir of St John’s College, Lajos Rovatkay, Cambridge & Capella Agostino Steffani - Allegri: Miserere; Pergolesi & Caldara: Stabat Mater; Vivaldi: Sonata a quattro «Al santo sepolcro» (1998)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 271 Mb | Total time: 68:34 | Scans included
Classical | Label: EMI Classics | # 5 73020 2 | Recorded: 1991, 1994

Allegri's early Baroque masterpiece Miserere from around 1630 movingly juxtaposes modal chant with tonality, and was so popular that the Vatican refused to allow it to be performed anywhere else - until the 14 year old Mozart broke the Vatican's monopoly by writing it down from memory after attending a performance. Pergolesi's late Baroque masterpiece Stabat Mater for soprano and alto dates from 1736, the year of his death at the age of 26. It was originally written for male voices but since it's hard to find a castrato these days, it's generally performed by two women or by a female soprano and counter-tenor. This performance uses a female alto but in other respects it's very much a period performance - the sound is intimate and the tempos are lively without any sacrifice of spiritual depth.

George Guest, St John's College Choir, Roger Norrington, Schütz Choir - Pergolesi, D.Scarlatti, Bononcini: Stabat Mater (1995)

Posted By: ArlegZ
George Guest, St John's College Choir, Roger Norrington, Schütz Choir - Pergolesi, D.Scarlatti, Bononcini: Stabat Mater (1995)

George Guest, St John's College Choir, Roger Norrington, Schütz Choir - Pergolesi, D. Scarlatti, A. Bononcini: Stabat Mater (1995)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 645 Mb | Total time: 141:57 | Scans included
Classical | Label: Decca | # 443 868-2 | Recorded: 1966, 1973, 1977, 1978

This anthology of devotional music from 18th-century Venice and Naples offers an interesting and varied programme. Best known is Pergolesi’s Stabat mater, but the settings by Domenico Scarlatti and Bononcini stand well in comparison. The motets by Lotti, Caldara and Alessandro Scarlatti are real discoveries; Norrington’s performances of the latter are particularly fine. Guest’s Pergolesi suffers from a focus of sound which makes the interpretation seem somewhat generalised. However, all these performances give pleasure, while the music is melodically fresh and rhythmically vital.

George Guest, Stephen Cleobury, Philip Ledger - Vivaldi: Glorias, Dixit Dominus, Magnificat, Beatus Vir (1994)

Posted By: ArlegZ
George Guest, Stephen Cleobury, Philip Ledger - Vivaldi: Glorias, Dixit Dominus, Magnificat, Beatus Vir (1994)

George Guest, Stephen Cleobury, Philip Ledger, Wren Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Academy of St. Martin-in-the-Fields - Vivaldi: Glorias, Dixit Dominus, Magnificat, Beatus Vir (1994)
EAC | FLAC | Image (Cue & Log) ~ 589 Mb | Total time: 57:44+68:09 | Scans included
Classical | Label: DECCA | # 443 455-2 | Recorded: 1976, 1981, 1986

Vivaldi's sacred music is not so famous as that of his contemporaries Bach and Handel, so this is a bargain opportunity to catch up. You might think Vivaldi's playful, virtuoso Italianate character and Catholic context would produce radically different music, but in George Guest's urgent readings, the mixture of restrainedly exultant choruses and austerely beautiful arias are near-identical to Bach.