Author Topic: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?  (Read 23072 times)

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Mark

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #20 on: June 12, 2007, 12:49:03 AM »
I have it myself, and I'm not convinced. Two beautiful voices, but they don't match as they ought, both timbrally and stylistically, to my ears. The couplings - a couple of Pergolesi Salve Reginas, one in F minor, one in A minor, one for each of the two featured singers - therefore come off better, and are beautiful pieces in their own right too.

I had the opportunity to hear the first movement, Luke, and I agree: it doesn't work. Bonney uses way too much vibrato, and sounds positively operatic beside Scholl. On the Kirkby/Bowman disc, Kikrby's flawlessly legato lines are like spun gold.

Offline Tsaraslondon

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #21 on: June 12, 2007, 01:10:33 AM »
I've never been much of a fan of Kirkby, I'm afraid. Or James Bowman, for that matter.

How about this one?



If it's anything like as good as the Vivaldi disc Daniels and Biondi did, back in 2002, then it is definitely worrth a listen.
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Harry

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #22 on: June 12, 2007, 01:16:42 AM »
I've never been much of a fan of Kirkby, I'm afraid. Or James Bowman, for that matter.


That is honey to my ears! ;D

Offline knight66

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #23 on: June 12, 2007, 02:21:43 AM »
Sorry, The David Daniels recording is a real disappointment. The accompanying pieces are excellent, but Galante seems to have decided to pull a fast one and it completely robs it of contemplation, repose, grief. It merely sounds hectic and the singers are not given space to express properly. Also, as Daniels really needs a little time to develop tone on notes into that beautiful sweetness, rushing him means his voice is shown to less than good advantage. Much the same with the soprano.

I enjoy the Scholl disc, though agree it somehow does not quite work.

At the other extreme there is a romantic soup made of it by Abbado with Margaret Marshall and Lucia Valentini Terrani, it is a wonderful disc, Marshall is such a beautiful singer; but I could not honestly offer it as prime recommendation.

The Allessandri with Mingardo is remarkable, pared down to the basics, almost too austere; the piece needs a modicum of wallowing.

I have never heard the Kirkby version, it is news to me if Bowman sounds anything other than as though he was tremulously sucking a lemon; but than as I have not heard it, it would not be fair of me to try to taint it. But I have got rid of several discs because Bowman wailed chunks of music and ruined them for me.

Mike
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Mark

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #24 on: June 12, 2007, 02:31:05 AM »
The Allessandri with Mingardo is remarkable, pared down to the basics, almost too austere; the piece needs a modicum of wallowing.

My feelings exactly with regard to that disc.

Quote
I have never heard the Kirkby version, it is news to me if Bowman sounds anything other than as though he was tremulously sucking a lemon; but than as I have not heard it, it would not be fair of me to try to taint it. But I have got rid of several discs because Bowman wailed chunks of music and ruined them for me.

Mike

Kirkby and Bowman seem pretty ideally paired to these ears. Nothing jars, everything is suitably reverential when it ought to be, and the sound is just exquisite.

Mark

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #25 on: June 12, 2007, 02:53:58 AM »
Thought I'd share, with those who've not heard the Kirkby/Bowman coupling, the first movement:

Kirkby/Bowman - Stabat Mater

The link will work for 7 days or 100 downloads.

Enjoy. :)

Offline FideLeo

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #26 on: June 12, 2007, 02:56:45 AM »
Stax for classical indeed. The first poster that I see with these headphones.
Bravo.

Thanks...I agree they perform exceedingly well for the price.   It's absolutely necessary to hear
the recordings cleanly and clearly if one wants to make sensible comments about them. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 03:03:00 AM by masolino »
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Offline FideLeo

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #27 on: June 12, 2007, 03:09:24 AM »
Thought I'd share, with those who've not heard the Kirkby/Bowman coupling, the first movement:

Kirkby/Bowman - Stabat Mater

The link will work for 7 days or 100 downloads.

Enjoy. :)

Thanks for the upload.  It really reminds me of Hogwood's interpretation of Mozart Requiem
(Introitus) -- very similar approach and almost the same degree of expressivity.  He: is it
suitable to perform Mozart and Pergolesi using the same stylistic palatte?   ???
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 03:22:53 AM by masolino »
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Mark

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #28 on: June 12, 2007, 03:20:22 AM »
Thanks for the upload.  It really reminds me of Hogwood's interpretation of Mozart Requieum
(Introitus) -- very similar approach and almost the same degree of expressivity.  He: is it
suitable to perform Mozart and Pergolesi using the same stylistic palatte?   ???

And thank you for the 'tip-off' about the Mozart Requiem. ;)

If you say it's similar in style to Hogwood's Pergolesi Stabat Mater, then I need to check it out. :)

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #29 on: June 12, 2007, 03:28:50 AM »
The Stabat Mater is a work Mrs. Rock and I both love to distraction. We currently own on CD Dutoit/Anderson/Bartoli and Gracis/Freni/Berganzi. We want a HIP version or two but have the same problem here as we did with acquiring a HIP Messiah (some may remember the thread at the old forum): we can't stand male altos. The only composer who wrote well for the bargain-counter tenor was, in my opinion, P.D.Q. Bach.

I don't understand why every HIP set we've sampled has a male alto. Why is that considered authentic? I mean, they use an adult woman to sing the soprano part. I haven't heard one that uses a boy. So why not a woman in the alto part too? Why this peculiar obsession with a highly artificial, and to me, silly sounding voice?

So my question is: can anyone recommend a good HIP version that employs two women?

Sarge
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Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
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Mark

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #30 on: June 12, 2007, 03:41:27 AM »
Sarge, this won't help at all, but there was a terrific recording made in 1970 with Societa Cameristica di Lugano under Edwin Loehrer which features what sound like two women. Can't confirm any more details as my search of the net proved useless last time, and the sampler CD on which only the opening 'Stabat Mater' appears doesn't give any helpful information. The earlier of the two recordings on Naxos also has two female singers: Faulkner (sop)/Gonda (alt)/Camerata Budapest/Halasz. Beautiful performance this. Neither of these are HIP, though, AFAIK.

Funny you should mention boys' voices in connection with this work. I have, on a BBC Music Magazine cover CD, a recording with AAM and the lads of New College, Oxford under Higginbottom. Same disc features a cracking Scarlatti Stabat Mater, but with the BBC Singers instead. The all-boy thing really switched me off - a bunch of (admittedly talented) young chaps ruining a tender and often deeply mournful work, IMO. ;D

Shame you and the wife don't like countertenors. I find them wonderful to listen to ... and truth be told, if I were ever to have become a singer, I'd have loved to have had that range.

Offline Que

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #31 on: June 12, 2007, 05:05:41 AM »
The Stabat Mater is a work Mrs. Rock and I both love to distraction. We currently own on CD Dutoit/Anderson/Bartoli and Gracis/Freni/Berganzi. We want a HIP version or two but have the same problem here as we did with acquiring a HIP Messiah (some may remember the thread at the old forum): we can't stand male altos.

So my question is: can anyone recommend a good HIP version that employs two women?

Sarge,

The Alessandrini has two female singers - and very good ones too: Gemma Bertagnoli (soprano) and Sara Mingardo (contralto). It's my preferred recording anyway - magnificent. That means no "Romantic" frills btw - this one goes deep...



Q
« Last Edit: March 08, 2009, 12:51:14 AM by Que »
À chacun son goût.

Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #32 on: June 12, 2007, 05:24:51 AM »
Sarge,

The Alessandrini has two female singers - and very good ones too: Gemma Bertagnoli (soprano) and Sara Mingardo (contralto). It's my preferred recording anyway - magnificent.

I listened to the clips: yes! Exactly what I've been looking for. I ordered the Naive version from JPC. Slightly more expensive than Amazon but it's in stock at JPC. Wonderful!  :)

Mark: I appreciate your recommendation but Q's is what I'm after. Thanks anyway.

Sarge

the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Mark

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #33 on: June 12, 2007, 05:27:02 AM »
No worries, Sarge - every ear is different. ;)

Offline FideLeo

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #34 on: June 12, 2007, 05:38:36 AM »

I don't understand why every HIP set we've sampled has a male alto. Why is that considered authentic? I mean, they use an adult woman to sing the soprano part. I haven't heard one that uses a boy. So why not a woman in the alto part too? Why this peculiar obsession with a highly artificial, and to me, silly sounding voice?

Ask Italian composers and musicians of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, perhaps?  ;D  "Falsetto" is definitely not a word invented in the 20th century.   ;D
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Offline Sergeant Rock

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #35 on: June 12, 2007, 05:48:08 AM »
Ask Italian composers and musicians of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries, perhaps?  ;D  "Falsetto" is definitely not a word invented in the 20th century.   ;D

Yes, I understand that. But my question is: why are the genders mixed on so-called HIP recordings? When this piece was performed in Italy in the 18th century, did they really use a female soprano and a male alto? If so, why? If females were allowed to sing in the cathedrals and theaters, why wouldn't they also use a female alto? Hers is a natural, and a far more powerful instrument than a falsettist trying to reach into a woman's range. If the work employed a castrato, and that's the justification for using a male alto today, I find that a bogus argument. A falsettist is in no way comparable to that mutilated horror.

Sarge
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 05:50:11 AM by Sergeant Rock »
the phone rings and somebody says,
"hey, they made a movie about
Mahler, you ought to go see it.
he was as f*cked-up as you are."
                               --Charles Bukowski, "Mahler"

Offline FideLeo

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #36 on: June 12, 2007, 05:59:07 AM »

Funny you should mention boys' voices in connection with this work. I have, on a BBC Music Magazine cover CD, a recording with AAM and the lads of New College, Oxford under Higginbottom. Same disc features a cracking Scarlatti Stabat Mater, but with the BBC Singers instead. The all-boy thing really switched me off - a bunch of (admittedly talented) young chaps ruining a tender and often deeply mournful work, IMO. ;D


I agree that the only parts in the Stabat Mater that would work with boy choirists are the duets, specially the last one.  They would make a mess of the virtuosic arias, but listen to the sound track for Amadeus and hear boy choirs work wonder in Quando corpus morietur and of course, Amen.

Quote

Shame you and the wife don't like countertenors. I find them wonderful to listen to ... and truth be told, if I were ever to have become a singer, I'd have loved to have had that range.

A recommendation for "bargain"-counter (LOL) tenor voice lovers, and it's a real bargain.

The Naxos recording has male voices for both soprano and alto parts:



I personally like Jörg Waschinski's voice very much, and Michael Chance is always fine in this repertory.  Helmut Müller-Brühl's conducting can be a bit more sensuous I think, but it's not bad at all.  The point: very good male sopranists do exist who can sing this music and they need to be heard more.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2009, 12:53:17 AM by Que »
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Offline FideLeo

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #37 on: June 12, 2007, 06:08:48 AM »
Yes, I understand that. But my question is: why are the genders mixed on so-called HIP recordings? When this piece was performed in Italy in the 18th century, did they really use a female soprano and a male alto? If so, why? If females were allowed to sing in the cathedrals and theaters, why wouldn't they also use a female alto? Hers is a natural, and a far more powerful instrument than a falsettist trying to reach into a woman's range. If the work employed a castrato, and that's the justification for using a male alto today, I find that a bogus argument. A falsettist is in no way comparable to that mutilated horror.

Sarge

The answer is yes.  Handel used both falsettists and female alto voices for solos in his oratorios (somewhat interchangeably), and that should in part reflects what was done in Italy at the time as well.  Falsettists were (and are) not castrati and people listened to them partly for the reason that they could sing in churches, and partly simply because they liked the voice.  I really don't think musicians before 1750 "gendered" the voice as much as we do today.  The question of tessituras probably interested them more than that of timbre.  The French counterpart of falsetto voice is the haute-contre, which has a range that lies somewhat lower than the alto but quite a bit higher than the tenor.  Hautes-contres are not castrati either and yet they mostly have the heroic parts in French Baroque operas.  So trying to draw a line between male/female in the over range of human voice probably makes more sense today than it did centuries ago. 
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 06:50:14 AM by masolino »
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Offline Que

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #38 on: June 12, 2007, 06:18:57 AM »
Yes, I understand that. But my question is: why are the genders mixed on so-called HIP recordings? When this piece was performed in Italy in the 18th century, did they really use a female soprano and a male alto? If so, why? If females were allowed to sing in the cathedrals and theaters, why wouldn't they also use a female alto? Hers is a natural, and a far more powerful instrument than a falsettist trying to reach into a woman's range. If the work employed a castrato, and that's the justification for using a male alto today, I find that a bogus argument. A falsettist is in no way comparable to that mutilated horror.

The answer is yes.  Handel used both falsettists and female alto voices for solos in his oratiorios (somewhat interchangeably), and that should in part reflects what was done in Italy at the time as well.  Falsettists are not castrati and people listened to them partly for the reason that they could sing in churches, and partly simply because they liked the voice.  I really don't think musicians before 1750 "gendered" the voice as much as we do today.  The question of tessituras probably interested them more than that of timbre.  The French counterpart of falsetto voice is the haute-contre, which has a range that lies somewhat lower than the alto's but quite a bit higher than most tenor's.  Haute-contres are not castrati either and yet they mostly have the heroic parts in French Baroque operas. 

Alessandrini writes in the booklet with his recording that the original performances were almost certainly done by castrati, and that "the modern countertenor was completely unknown at the time, or at least not heard in a solo situation", and that therefore he feels that a choice for the female voice was the best option as a replacement for the castrato.

And I feel the same, having heard opera (Vivaldi) with parts for castrati: the countertenor is not necessarily the best option in comparison with a female contralto with an appropriate timbre.

Q
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 06:22:57 AM by Que »
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Offline FideLeo

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Re: A benchmark Pergolesi Stabat Mater?
« Reply #39 on: June 12, 2007, 06:27:24 AM »
Alessandrini writes in the booklet with his recording that the original performances were almost certainly done by castrati, and that "the modern countertenor was completely unknown at the time, or at least not heard in a solo situation", and that therefore he feels that a choice for the female voice was the best option as a replacement for the castrato.

And I feel the same, having heard opera (Vivaldi) with parts for castrati: the countertenor is not necessarily the best option in comparison with a female contralto with an appropriate timbre.

Q

I think perhaps that reasoning should be limited to solo performances and only those in certain (18th-century?) Italian repertoires.  Use of falsetti in Monteverdi was not unheard-of, and I do consider parts in the Selva morale to be solos.  And of course, as I said, Handel and Bach did compose and perform music with falsetto soloists (both sopranos and altos).  Bach's BWV199 was composed for Adam Immanuel Weldig in c. 1708 but it was probably later sung in Leipzig by his wife.  [BTW what does Alessandrini mean when he said "the modern countertenors"?  Does he think falsetti are not the same as today's ct?]

Anyways, returning to Serge's initial question above, I would say Pergolesi probably heard (or he may have been dead before this) one or two castrati sing his Stabat Mater when he composed it.  But for Bach, who did a complete arranged setting of Pergolesi's music (Psalm 51 - see above), he could have used any of the combinations mentioned this far - two male singers (choirists or castrati or falsetti), one female singer and one male falsettist, or two female singers (the least likely scenario - because Bach wasn't known to use female alto voices a lot in his cantatas).  So using a female soprano and a male alto voice isn't exactly "inauthentic" practice here either, because the music could have been performed outside of Italy (as in Bach's case) this way, even in the 18th century.
« Last Edit: June 12, 2007, 10:01:13 AM by masolino »
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