It would be no exaggeration to say that these recordings are an eye-opening
discovery, constituting as they do a World Première recording of
Alessandro Scarlatti's setting of Stabat Mater and a first studio
recording of Baron D'Astorga's setting.
It was the custom throughout Catholic Christendom in the 18th Century to
give musical renderings of Stabat Mater Dolorosa every Passiontide;
leading Italian composers of the early Baroque provided settings which were
often used for years in succession in major churches and cathedrals. The
published music travelled widely in Europe and reached England. With changing
musical fashions they fell out of favour and were supplanted by the (now)
more widely-known settings by Pergolesi and Haydn. Despite their being
'rediscovered' during the 19t century, these settings have remained obscure
throughout the 20th Century. The issue of recordings of these priceless gems
of the early baroque is welcome indeed.
The interpretation and performance are superb throughout. The Camerata Polifonica
Siciliana consists of a 28-strong choir and 14 string players with organ
continuo. The recording was made in the ex-monastery of Santo Francesco in
Paterno, Sicily; the venue lends an authentic acoustic to the performance
which the recording engineers have faithfully transferred onto the disc.
This is music for late-night listening in subdued light when the day's work
is done; it restores serenity and provides an experience of transcendental
transport. It is recommended to all who love the Italian Baroque.