Pergolesi: Marian Vespers

Pergolesi: Marian Vespers

by Edward Higginbottom
     
 

This Erato release attempts to introduce the listener to various aspects, some perhaps neglected, of Pergolesi's work. Such an attempt would be quite laudable, Pergolesi mainly being known for his "Stabat Mater" and the brilliant intermezzo "La serva padrona," were not Pergolesi: "Marian Vespers," a random sequence of disparate vocal and…  See more details below

Overview

This Erato release attempts to introduce the listener to various aspects, some perhaps neglected, of Pergolesi's work. Such an attempt would be quite laudable, Pergolesi mainly being known for his "Stabat Mater" and the brilliant intermezzo "La serva padrona," were not Pergolesi: "Marian Vespers," a random sequence of disparate vocal and instrumental works, simply don't add up to Vespers. And the performers; soloists; the New College Choir, Oxford; and the Academy of Ancient Music, under the direction of Edward Higginbottom, seem unsettled by their task, often lapsing into a type of well-polished monotony. It should be pointed out that the service of Vespers, the seventh of the eight daily services of the Divine Office, follows a distinct pattern (which this set does not observe) and includes psalms, antiphons, settings of biblical and other liturgical texts, as well as a setting of the "Magnificat," the canticle of the Virgin ("My soul doth magnify the Lord"). Only the second disc contains Marian music, a passionate "Magnificat" and a luminous, soulful "Salve Regina," these two gems unfortunately separated by a rather mediocre "Sonata for cello and continuo." Rooted in the Baroque, Pergolesi (1710-1736) is among those rare composers who intuitively -- almost clairvoyantly -- grasped and expressed the new style, which would crystallize into classicism later in the century. Consequently, Pergolesi's music, particularly his sacred works, reveals a multifaceted genius reaching for a truly comprehensive musical idiom. Despite his genuine modernity, Pergolesi, as exemplified by his "Salve Regina," embodies a quintessentially Baroque spirituality that introduced elements of ecstatic passion and mystical vastness into Marian devotion. The music, which can only be described as intimately sublime, truly inspires the two sopranos Sophie Daneman and Noemi Kiss, whose voices attain the expressive purity of authentic devotion.

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Editorial Reviews

Gramophone - Stanley Sadie
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.... The set does give a clear picture of his church music, and there is no question that it is highly individual and often very appealing.... 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.

Product Details

Release Date:
01/28/2003
Label:
Warner Classics
UPC:
0809274668424
catalogNumber:
46684

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Marian Vespers, for soloists, chorus, organ & orchestra (reconstructed by Malcolm Bruno)  - Giovanni Pergolesi  -  Choir of New College, Oxford  -  Academy of Ancient Music  - Simon Birchall  - Thierry Cohen  - Malcolm Bruno  - Sophie Daneman  - Noemi Kiss  - Pavlo Beznosiuk  - Joseph Crouch  - Alistair Ross  - Alison McGillivray  - Edward Higginbottom

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