D Scarlatti/A Scarlatti/Hasse

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5.0 out of 5 star rating 5.0

COMPOSERS: D Scarlatti/A Scarlatti/Hasse
LABELS: Hyperion
WORKS: Salve regina; Infirmata vulnerata; Su le sponde del Tebro; O di Betlemme altera; Salve regina
PERFORMER: James Bowman (countertenor), Deborah York (soprano), Crispian Steele-Perkins (trumpet); The King’s Consort/Robert King
CATALOGUE NO: CDA 66875
Congratulations to Hyperion on imaginative programming of repertoire, some not otherwise available on disc, and revived in new performing editions. There is a price to pay: King admits, and I agree, that Alessandro Scarlatti ventures ‘a brave (and partly successful) attempt to make the ground bass […] interesting’ in the cantata Su le sponde – but not before Steele-Perkins’s clarino trumpet has dazzled and a lover’s plaint (Deborah York) has melted the hardest heart. York is captivating, too, in the charming pastoral imagery of Scarlatti père’s Christmas cantata, O di Betlemme, ending with a lilting air over an orchestral bagpipe drone as the shepherds worship the newborn babe.

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Bowman is also in fine voice, singing more Alessandro Scarlatti, including an aria cleverly structured over a perky seven-bar repeating bass. He serves persuasively the ‘natural, elegant and judicious’ (if rather ephemeral) Hasse in a Salve regina. In another, by Domenico Scarlatti, a rather weightily balanced bass thickens the textures of voice and King’s Consort strings.

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Highly recommended, some perhaps mainly for the archive, but most for repeated enjoyable listening. George Pratt