As the old saying goes, "the third time's the charm." This is indeed the third time the German label Accent has issued this coupling of Domenico Scarlatti's Stabat Mater with João Rodrigues Esteves' Missa a oito voces. The first time was in 1990, when the recording by Currende under the leadership of Erik van Nevel was new, and the second in 1998 as part of a box set containing this and several recordings by Concerto Palatino. No complaints here, though, as this is one of the finest discs Accent has to offer.
The 18th-century Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti wrote an incredible 555 keyboard sonatas. Many are just a few minutes in length, but through their infinite invention and variety of color, they explore the full technical and textural range of the harpsichord. French virtuoso Jean Rondeau’s program of just 15—with a mischievous improvisation of his own to break the pace halfway through—gives a superb overview of Scarlatti’s genius. Rondeau’s brilliantly incisive playing is perfect for the blistering pyrotechnic displays of K. 141 and K. 119, and his beautifully judged rubato transforms the simplest of the composer’s more introspective sonatas, such as K. 69 and K. 199, into beautiful arias.
Domenico Scarlatti is a great composer disguised as a mediocre one. Part of the disguise is that he’s a formulaic miniaturist. It’s easy to dismiss his sonatas with the airy notion that if you’ve heard a few of them, you’ve heard them all. So pianists usually dispatch them as twee appetizers, played with a wink and a smirk, setting the table for meatier fare. But such dismissal dissolves under the sheer inventiveness of the sonatas. Like the protagonist in Ilse Aichinger’s “The Bound Man,” Scarlatti finds endless possibilities within his self-imposed confines.
This luxurious set containing 39 CDs, 3 DVDs, 1 CD-Rom and four detailed booklets will tell you the full story of Baroque opera in Italy, France, England, and Germany. No fewer than 17 complete operas (including two on DVD) and two supplementary CDs (the dawn of opera, Overtures for the Hamburg Opera) provide the most comprehensive overview of the genre ever attempted! The finest performers are assembled here under the direction of René Jacobs and William Christie to offer you 47 hours of music. An opportunity to discover or to hear again the masterpieces of Baroque opera, some of which have been unavailable on CD for many years.
He ignored every rule of traditional composition in order to achieve the effect his music should have; the number of voices changes arbitrarily, parallel octaves and fifths abound, all according to the vigorous, elemental force of his inspiration.
The legendary Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was born 300 years ago, in 1710. To mark the anniversary, Naïve re-issues three renowned recordings to feature his choral music, in a specially-priced box set, headed by the Gramophone award-winning version of his Stabat Mater by Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano, considered one of the best ever recorded…
Also featured in the bargain “3 for the price of 1” set are other short pieces by Pergolesi, plus more by Alessandro Scarlatti and Leonardo Leo.
With this exciting release, Fabio Biondi, the outstanding Europa Galante, and a cast led by stars Véronique Gens and Vivica Genaux strike a decisive blow for Alessandro Scarlatti's obscure Oratorio per la Santissima Trinità. Old-fashioned even in its day, the work is a musicalized instructional debate about the mysteries of the Holy Trinity between the allegorical personae of Faith, Theology, Faithlessness, Time, and Divine Love. If you're asleep already, it's for good reason. The libretto is the definition of dry – boring both for its rhetorical contrivance and its verbosity. But before you run for the nearest exit, know that Scarlatti responded to this uninspired mess of ideological bickering with outstanding music, entertaining from beginning to end. Drawing only on a small ensemble of strings and continuo, he created an improbably diverse-sounding score full of infectious rhythms, appealing vocal melodies, and rich textures. The recitatives are lavished with the same melodic care and detail as the arias and ensembles, and the personality of each character is etched into his music. Listening, one might think the plot revolves around a love affair, or a social intrigue. Certainly not wave upon wave of phrases like "One cannot believe it, but only raise one's eyebrows in stupefaction." In other words, if you can ignore the text it's an immensely fun listen, and a great example of the stylistic fluidity of Scarlatti's music in 1715.
This collection of 17 Scarlatti harpsichord sonatas isn't systematically compiled, but includes the favorites of harpsichordist and scholar Skip Sempé, and it's a diverse and attractive selection. Citing the strong Spanish influences on Scarlatti's writing, Sempé describes "Duende" as a Spanish term that refers to the mysterious power of an event or activity to move a person into a state of sensory overload, or even transcendence.