Sacred Works by Albinoni, JS Bach, Brahms, Fauré, Mascagni, Mozart, Saint-Saëns, Schubert, Stradella, Verdi, etc
Marina Rebeka (soprano); Latvian Radio Choir; Sinfonietta Riga/Modestas Pitrėnas
Prima Classic PRIMA 007 75:47 mins
The Latvian soprano’s collection is mostly made up of religious items, though the aria ‘Ombra mai fu’ from Handel’s Serse doesn’t qualify, nor Dido’s Lament, let alone Remo Giazotto’s post-war Adagio supposedly based on a fragment by Albinoni, sung as a vocalise. Many pieces are performed in uncredited arrangements while several are misattributed.
But Marina Rebeka makes something worthwhile out of pretty well all of them, her voice forwardly if occasionally fiercely recorded – as in the misattributed Stradella ‘Pietà, signore’ (in fact by Louis Niedermeyer: 1802-61).
She offers a rich, spacious sound in Mozart’s ‘Laudate Dominum’ and carefully gradated tone in Verdi’s Ave Maria. Actually composed by Vladimir Vovikov (1925-73), the regularly misattributed Caccini Ave Maria is sensitively voiced, Gottfried Heinrich Stölzel’s ‘Bist du bei mir’ (frequently misattributed to Bach) expressive.
The ‘Pie Jesu’ from Fauré’s Requiem is luminously voiced. She deploys a veiled tone for Durante’s ‘Vergin tutto amor’ – originally a vocalise to which the current text was added more than a century after the composer’s death.
There’s a moving ethereality to the soprano solo from the Brahms Requiem, a performance also notable for a fine contribution (as elsewhere on the disc) from the Latvian Radio Choir.
Among the rarer pieces is the attractive Saint-Saëns’s Ave Maria (1865). Rebeka enters with conviction into the spirit of its Schubertian namesake, while her delivery of the Mascagni setting (an arrangement of the Intermezzo from Cavalleria rusticana) is equally potent.
Musical standards are presentable under conductor Modestas Pitrėnas, with the Sinfonietta Riga leaving a good impression.