Pergolesi: Stabat Mater; Haydn: Symphony No. 49, ‘La Passione’;
Jodie Devos (soprano), Adèle Charvet (mezzo-soprano); Le Concert de la Loge/Julien Chauvin
Alpha Classics ALPHA784 53:22 mins
Composed in the last weeks of Pergolesi’s brief life, his Stabat Mater (1736) was one of the works that took his name around Europe: numerous performances were given in different versions, editions and arrangements. In Paris, where it seems to have arrived in 1736, it was taken up by the concert-giving organisation the Concert de la Loge Olympique, who performed it (usually in excerpts) every year from 1753 until their final season in 1790.
The version performed here is based on a contemporary Parisian publication with some minor matters of articulation, dynamics and instrumentation taken from manuscripts of the same period in the Bibliothèque nationale. In places, Pergolesi’s solo lines are transferred to a substantial two-part children’s chorus, which inevitably thickens the texture.
The two solo voices are well matched, though the mezzo’s tone is edgier than that of her soprano colleague. Violinist/director Julien Chauvin presides over a pacy account that occasionally robs the music of breadth; some striking dissonances in the Sancta Mater need to register more strongly.
Haydn’s Passione Symphony (1768) fills up the disc, in a new version imagined by the conductor with organ replacing the original woodwind (oboes and horns).
The individual works were recorded in different venues, with the Haydn symphony coming over better in the Théâtre de Caen.