Bach, A Scarlatti, Durante

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COMPOSERS: A Scarlatti,Bach,Durante
LABELS: Deutsche Harmonia Mundi
WORKS: Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden, BWV 1083 (after Pergolesi)
PERFORMER: Maya Boog (soprano), Michael Chance (countertenor); Balthasar Neumann Ensemble/Thomas Hengelbrock
CATALOGUE NO: 05472 77508 2
‘What lay in wait for travellers visiting Naples at the beginning of the 18th century?’ enquires the booklet note. Well, certainly not Bach’s arrangement of Pergolesi’s Stabat mater which occupies by far the greater part of this Neapolitan-inspired programme. Bach made his parody of Pergolesi’s original during the mid to late 1740s, a decade or more after the Italian’s untimely death at the age of 26. The German text, ‘Tilge, Höchster, meine Sünden’, is a paraphrase of the Italian poem which obliged Bach to make numerous subtle adjustments to Pergolesi’s vocal and instrumental parts but without altering any of their substance, and without change to the two solo vocal ranges, soprano and alto. For many years Bach’s parody attracted little or no attention from performers or recording companies but, within the last decade or so there have been at least four versions on disc. The present one, with solo soprano and countertenor voices, is perhaps the strongest of them, though another, with a boy treble and boy alto, included in the Teldec Bach Edition, has a greater intimacy and innocent fervour. Bach’s treatment of this overtly ‘galant’ music is hard to classify, but it does suggest that his interest in stylistic development was greater than is sometimes claimed. The piece is framed by strongly contrasting concertos from the pens of Messrs A Scarlatti and F Durante. Nicholas Anderson