Domenico Scarlatti: Sacred Vocal Music

Domenico Scarlatti: Sacred Vocal Music

by Morten Schuldt-Jensen
     
 

Several recent recordings have taken up Domenico Scarlatti's choral music, which is as conservative as his keyboard sonatas are radical. This is not just the result of the placement early in Scarlatti's career of the music heard here; the "Te Deum," indeed, was written after Scarlatti arrived in Lisbon, and the other pieces are hard to date with any certainty. The… See more details below

Overview

Several recent recordings have taken up Domenico Scarlatti's choral music, which is as conservative as his keyboard sonatas are radical. This is not just the result of the placement early in Scarlatti's career of the music heard here; the "Te Deum," indeed, was written after Scarlatti arrived in Lisbon, and the other pieces are hard to date with any certainty. The "Missa Breve La stella" and "Stabat Mater" retain many features of the sacred music of the seventeenth century, with frequent exploitations of block contrasts and short sections that shift in tempo and meter. Much of the music is contrapuntal, and operatic influences are sparse. Consider the "Stabat Mater," an unusual piece that deserves to be better known. It is a genuine 10-voice work -- the ensemble is possibly divisible, as annotator Keith Anderson claims, into two five-voice choirs, but really it's a flexible group of 10 that exploits a constantly changing set of texture contrasts. These works are gorgeous examples of polyphony in the old style, enriched by the developing harmonic language of the late Baroque. The "Missa Breva La Stella" achieves a strikingly distinctive response to the mass text with its combination of short sections and flexible language. Sample the "Incarnatus" (track 10), with its arcane harmonic language of ultimate mystery, and the explosion of joy at the subsequent Resurrexit, intensified by the buzzing continuo group of violine, theorbo, and organ. The Immortal Bach Ensemble (which will at least be around to collect the reissue royalties) is a 10-voice group, which means there is one voice per part to the "Stabat Mater" -- a strong choice in this work, for it clarifies the complex textures. The group penetrates the expressive fervor beneath the music's conventional surfaces, and it is on solid ground in the a cappella readings of the "Magnificat" and the elevation motet "Cibavit nos Dominus," which is interpolated between the Sanctus and Agnus Dei of the mass -- which are in an even older style, although the a cappella status of the "Magnificat" is a matter of debate. In all, this album is an excellent choice for anyone who has ever been curious about this aspect of Domenico Scarlatti's career.

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Product Details

Release Date:
12/11/2007
Label:
Naxos
UPC:
0747313038275
catalogNumber:
8570382
Rank:
222400

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Te Deum, motet for double chorus & organ in C major  - Domenico Scarlatti  - Morten Schuldt-Jensen  -  Immortal Bach Ensemble
  2. Missa, for chorus & organ in A minor ("La stella")  - Domenico Scarlatti  - Morten Schuldt-Jensen  -  Immortal Bach Ensemble
  3. Cibavit nos Dominus, sacred music for chorus  - Domenico Scarlatti  - Morten Schuldt-Jensen  -  Immortal Bach Ensemble
  4. Missa, for chorus & organ in A minor ("La stella"): Agnus Dei  - Domenico Scarlatti  - Morten Schuldt-Jensen  -  Immortal Bach Ensemble
  5. Magnificat in D minor, for chorus  - Domenico Scarlatti  - Morten Schuldt-Jensen  -  Immortal Bach Ensemble
  6. Stabat Mater, for double chorus & continuo in C minor  - Domenico Scarlatti  - Morten Schuldt-Jensen  -  Immortal Bach Ensemble

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