Three for Holy Week, Part 2

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Program: #12-14   Air Date: Mar 26, 2012

We continue with three recent releases with music for the days before Easter.

I. Lamentazione (Les Arts Florissants, Paul Agnew, dir.). Virgin Classics CD 50999 0709072 1.

  1. DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757): Stabat Mater a dieci voci e basso continuo
  2. ANTONIO LOTTI (1666-1740): Crucifixus a 10 voci
  3. GIOVANNI LEGRENZI (1626-1690): Quam amarum est, Maria ("How bitter is it, Mary, to be without Jesus!")
  4. ANTONIO CALDARA (1670-1736): Crucifixus a 16 voci
  5. LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744): Miserere a 8 voci pour double choeur
  6. ANTONIO LOTTI (1666-1740): Crucifixus a 8 voci

II. O Vox Omnes: Music for Lent and Holy Week (Choir of St. Ignatius Loyola, Kent Tritle, cond.). MSR CD MS 1138.


  1. Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525-1594): Sicut cervus ("As the hart longs for the running waters")
  2. Gregorian chant: Pange lingua ("Sing, o tongue, the mystery of the glorious Body")
  3. William BYRD (1543-1623) Ave verum corpus ("All hail, o true Body")
  4. Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (c.1548-1611): O vos omnes ("O all ye that pass along this way")
  5. Anonymous (Eng. 14th c.): O homo considera ("O man, consider what rewards the transient glory of the world gives")
  6. Gregorio ALLEGRI (1582-1652): Miserere mei, Deus
  7. Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585): The Lamentations of Jeremiah
  8. Thomas TALLIS: O Sacrum convivium (O sacred banquet in which Christ is received")

III. Via Crucis: Rapppresentazione della gloriosa Passione di Cristo (L'Arpeggiata, Christina Pluhar, dir.). Virgin Classics CD 50999 694577 0.

Here is another superb program put together by Christina Pluhar and performed by L'Arpeggiata. Joining them are countertenor Philippe Jaroussky, soprano Nuria Rial, and a group called Barbara Fortuna, made up of four Corsican men who sing in a distinctly earthy manner, with close harmonies and decorations unique to that island.

The "program" here is an invented 17th-century southern Italian mystery play based on The Way of the Cross, broken into three parts: the vision, the death of Christ, and the resurrection. Solos alternate with full orchestral numbers; there are duets and instrumentals; a traditional, breathtaking Stabat Mater for the four Corsicans is followed with one for solo soprano by Giovanni Felice Sances.
L'Arpeggiata's calling card is to combine Historically Informed Performances with jazz--and in this case, folk-based music--and it is amazing how staggeringly well it works. Utter purists in any faction may whine, but listen to the music: it's moving, fascinating, and invariably beautiful. Doron David Sherwin's jazz riffs on the cornet might raise the greatest number of hackles, but he still never goes too far; his embellishments only go "so" far away from melody and never overshadow whoever he's playing with for long. And he adds spice to the many chaconnes and ground-bass-based pieces Pluhar has chosen.

The march-like rhythms tell of the Way of the Cross while the accompaniments--a stunning selection of strings, plucked and otherwise (violins, gambas, harps, dulcimer, baroque guitar, lute, etc.), organ, and percussion--are varied and virtuosic. Furthermore, adding the darkly masculine sounds of Barbara Fortuna to the ethereal Jaroussky and Rial is a stroke of programming genius: the changes are always a welcome surprise. I was wild about their previous CD--Teatro d'Amore -- and I recommend this one without reservation.
--Robert Levine,

  1. Heinrich Ignaz Franz von BIBER (1644 - 1704): L'Annonciation
  2. Anon.: Ninna Nanna Al Bambino Gesù (Napoletana)
  3. Trad.: Maria (Sopra La Carpinese)
  4. Tarquinio MERULA (circa 1594 - 1665): Ch'è Tempo Di Dormire
  5. BIBER: L'Aria
  6. Giovanni LEGRENZI (1626 - 1690), Potete Piangere
  7. (Trad. Corsican): Suda Sangue
  8. Benedetto Ferrari (c. 1603-1604-1681): Pungente Spine
  9. Luigi Rossi (1597 - 1653): Morire
  10. (Trad. Corsican):Stabat Mater
  11. Giovanni Felice Sances (1600 - 1679): Stabat Mater
  12. Maurizio CASSATI (1616-1678) and Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi MEALLI (c.1630-c.1669): Passacaglia
  13. Mambribni/Cassalonga/Acquviba: Lamentu Di Ghjesu (Sopra La Follia)
  14. Tarquinio Merula (circa 1594 - 1665): Ciaccona
  15. Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643): Laudate Dominum
  16. Lorenzo ALLEGRI (1567-1648): Canario
  17. Anon.: Ciaccona Di Paradiso E Dell'Inferno
  18. Gragnielloi: 'Stù Criatu

Composer Info

DOMENICO SCARLATTI (1685-1757), ANTONIO LOTTI (1666-1740), GIOVANNI LEGRENZI (1626-1690), ANTONIO CALDARA (1670-1736), LEONARDO LEO (1694-1744), Giovanni Pierluigi da PALESTRINA (1525-1594), William BYRD (1543-1623), Tomás Luis de VICTORIA (c.1548-1611), Gregorio ALLEGRI (1582-1652), Thomas TALLIS (c.1505-1585),

CD Info

Virgin Classics CD 50999 0709072 1, MSR CD MS 1138, Virgin Classics CD 50999 694577 0