This recording is said to be a "critical edition"
of Pergolesi’s oratorio The Death of Saint Joseph, undoubtedly
composed in 1730. Putting aside the musicological questions raised briefly
in the notes, this is a strange recording indeed. Performed on period
instruments, it does not use period vocalists. With a tenor singing
in a Verdian style, a soprano singing off-key and sounding like she
is singing Mozart, there is no coherence in this work.
Sure, the instrumentalists do a fine job - the sound
of the orchestra is excellent. But at times, the singing can be almost
painful - soprano Patrizia Pace’s shrill voice is barely listenable
as she struggles to sing on key. This singer is more a Mozart specialist
than a singer of sacred baroque music, and it clearly sounds as if she
was not the right choice for this work.
Tenor Michele Farruggia has recorded Rossini, but he,
too, seems totally out of character in this baroque work, with his warbling
vibrato. In fact, all of the singers seem out of place - as if they
were recruited for this recording for reasons that have nothing to do
with the music.
This is one recording to avoid. In spite of the excellent
work of the orchestra which can be heard clearly, especially during
some of the more subtle accompaniments, the singers do not at all fit
this work, and it ends up sounding like a rehearsal, not a finished