£16 post free World-wide

 


555 sonatas 9Cds mp3 files
Only £22


 


Benjamin: Written on Skin £16

Search
What's New
Previous CDs
Concerts
Jazz
Nostalgia
Composers
Resources
Announce
Labels index


Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    



Some items
to consider


BRAHMS Complete Edition
58CD £95.22


Shostakovich 14 Petrenko


Rachmaninov #3
Prokofiev #2

 


Dunedin Consort

Peter Grimes

Hymn of Jesus: Sea Drift

Complete Mozart Edition
Mozart complete edition

Vaughan Williams Symphonies 5 & 8 £11

Weiner, Klepper, Bloch, Schulhoff £12 post free


Available again

REVIEW




Gerard Hoffnung CDs

Advertising on
Musicweb


Donate and get a free CD

New Releases

Naxos Classical

Hyperion

Musicweb sells the following labels
Acte Préalable
Alto
Arcodiva
CDAccord
Centaur
Hallé
Hortus
Lyrita
Nimbus
Northern Flowers
Redcliffe
Sheva
Talent
Toccata Classics


Follow us on Twitter

Subscribe to our free weekly newsletter
 

alternatively
CD: MDT AmazonUK AmazonUS
Sound Samples & Downloads


Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660 - 1725)
Vespro della Beata Vergine
Dixit Dominus [09:56]
Laudate pueri Dominum [12:42]
Laetatus sum [02:29]
Nisi Dominus [02:51]
Lauda Jerusalem [03:18]
Ave maris stella [07:20]
Magnificat [21:11]
Roberto Fernández de Larrinoa (violone), Menno van Delft (organ)
Netherlands Chamber Choir/Harry van der Kamp
rec. 6-8 June 2007, St Augustinuskerk, Amsterdam, Netherlands. DDD
ATMA ACD2 2533 [59:46]

Experience Classicsonline
Musical life in Rome in the decades around 1700 was incredibly rich and varied, and for many composers it was the place to be. On the one hand there were operas and oratorios, with often virtuosic solo parts. These were mostly performed in private circles. Musical practice at public occasions, on the other hand, was much more restrained, under an ecclesiastical regimen. As a result sacred music showed strongly conservative traits, and was often written in the stile antico.

Alessandro Scarlatti was born in Naples where he also worked for a considerable part of his life. He also took positions in Rome. His sacred music, including the compositions on this disc, reflects the ideals of the ecclesiastical authorities, which the Italian conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini describes as "a sober, orderly style".

Although the title of this disc suggests that we have a Vesper service here, that is not the case. There are no antiphons, and the seven pieces brought together in this programme were not written as a unity. They are various in scoring and texture. The first two items, Dixit Dominus and Laudate pueri Dominum, are both for five voices - two sopranos, alto, tenor and bass - with basso continuo. Both are divided into various sections, some of which are scored for one to three solo voices. The next three, Laetatus sum, Nisi Dominus and Lauda Jerusalem, are all for four voices and bc, and neither contains passages for solo voices. The fact that Laetatus sum contains only one verse makes it unlikely it was written for a Vesper service.

Scarlatti's setting of Dixit Dominus is an example of the restraint which was a feature of sacred music in Rome in his time. There are many examples of quite dramatic settings of this text; for instance by Vivaldi and Handel. The latter's composition dates from 1707 and was also performed in Rome. In comparison Scarlatti is modest in his text expression. Certain words and phrases are singled out, but a verse like "He will shatter kings on the day of his wrath" is far away from the theatrical effects Handel would have deployed. In Handel's compositions the singers are supported by strings and bc, whereas Scarlatti confines himself to a basso continuo part.

Nisi Dominus is a rather long text, but takes less than three minutes. It is one of the most antique and straightforward pieces in the programme. Much more time is taken for the setting of Ave maris stella. The tempo is slower, and Scarlatti pays much attention to the musical translation of the text. Here we also find examples of the harmonic tension and the dissonances which Scarlatti considered an important element of musical composition.

Harmony is also a means of expression in the last item, a setting of the Magnificat. Here we return to the start of the programme, as it were. Like the Dixit Dominus the Magnificat consists of tutti passages as well as episodes for one or two solo voices. The way Scarlatti dwells on the word "misericordiae" (mercy) is remarkable. The piece ends with the doxology, in which he writes two successive fugues, which once again demonstrate his mastery of the polyphony of the stile antico.

The Netherlands Chamber Choir is a professional ensemble which was founded in the 1930s. It covers a large repertoire from all periods in music history. It often works with specialists in various genres, like Paul Van Nevel, the director of the Huelgas Ensemble, in early music repertoire. The sound of the choir isn't marred by vibrato, and there is no stylistic clash between the tutti and the solo episodes which are sung by members of the choir. Under the direction of Harry van der Kamp, who is a former member of the choir, they give fine performances of these pieces by Alessandro Scarlatti.

A couple of issues have to be mentioned. The delivery isn't always as clear as one would wish, in particular in tutti passages. The basso continuo should have been given more prominence. Sometimes it is hardly audible. Harry van der Kamp has chosen to perform this repertoire with three singers per part. I don't know what kind of vocal forces were common in Scarlatti's time in Rome. It is interesting to compare the performance of the Magnificat with that by the Concerto Italiano under Rinaldo Alessandrini. He performs it with one voice per part. His interpretation contains stronger contrasts between the various sections, and the harmonic tensions are more clearly exposed than in this performance. That could be the effect of using single voices or probably performing in a different tuning.

This doesn't diminish my great appreciation of this recording which sheds light on a lesser-known part of Alessandro Scarlatti's oeuvre. It makes me curious to hear more from this source.

Johan van Veen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


EXPLORE MUSICWEB INTERNATIONAL

Making a Donation to MusicWeb

Writing CD reviews for MWI

About MWI
Who we are, where we have come from and how we do it.

Site Map

How to find a review

How to find articles on MusicWeb
Listed in date order

Review Indexes
   By Label
      Select a label and all reviews are listed in Catalogue order
   By Masterwork
            Links from composer names (eg Sibelius) are to resource pages with links to the review indexes for the individual works as well as other resources.

Themed Review pages

Jazz reviews

 

Discographies
   Composer
      Composer surveys
   National
      Unique to MusicWeb -
a comprehensive listing of all LP and CD recordings of given works
.
Prepared by Michael Herman

The Collector’s Guide to Gramophone Company Record Labels 1898 - 1925
Howard Friedman

Book Reviews

Complete Books
We have a number of out of print complete books on-line

Interviews
With Composers, Conductors, Singers, Instumentalists and others
Includes those on the Seen and Heard site

Nostalgia

Nostalgia CD reviews

Records Of The Year
Each reviewer is given the opportunity to select the best of the releases

Monthly Best Buys
Recordings of the Month and Bargains of the Month

Comment
Arthur Butterworth Writes

An occasional column

Phil Scowcroft's Garlands
British Light Music articles

Classical blogs
A listing of Classical Music Blogs external to MusicWeb International

Reviewers Logs
What they have been listening to for pleasure

Announcements

 

Community
Bulletin Board

Give your opinions or seek answers

Reviewers
Pat and present

Helpers invited!

Resources
How Did I Miss That?

Currently suspended but there are a lot there with sound clips


Composer Resources

British Composers

British Light Music Composers

Other composers

Film Music (Archive)
Film Music on the Web (Closed in December 2006)

Programme Notes
For concert organizers

External sites
British Music Society
The BBC Proms
Orchestra Sites
Recording Companies & Retailers
Online Music
Agents & Marketing
Publishers
Other links
Newsgroups
Web News sites etc

PotPourri
A pot-pourri of articles

MW Listening Room
MW Office

Advice to Windows Vista users  
Questionnaire    
Site History  
What they say about us
What we say about us!
Where to get help on the Internet
CD orders By Special Request
Graphics archive
Currency Converter
Dictionary
Magazines
Newsfeed  
Web Ring
Translation Service

Rules for potential reviewers :-)
Do Not Go Here!
April Fools






Untitled Document


Reviews from previous months
Join the mailing list and receive a hyperlinked weekly update on the discs reviewed. details
We welcome feedback on our reviews. Please use the Bulletin Board
Please paste in the first line of your comments the URL of the review to which you refer.