COMPOSERS: Domenico Scarlatti
WORKS: Missa breve (La Stella); Stabat mater; Te Deum; Iste confessor; Cibavit eos
PERFORMER: The Sixteen/Harry Christophers
CATALOGUE NO: 15042
This outstanding disc of sacred music by Domenico Scarlatti (who is better known today for his vast output of keyboard sonatas) pays glorious tribute to the composer’s early career in Italy. Through his father, Alessandro, Domenico benefited from the influences of the generation that followed Monteverdi. Here, The Sixteen sings a group of works that reveal the composer’s astonishing stylistic and expressive range and their sensational vocal and dynamic control has been preserved in superb recordings.
A vibrant account of the Te Deum shows Scarlatti’s natural fluency, while an exquisite performance of the disarmingly simple Iste confessor balances beautifully Libby Crabtree’s heavenly soprano and the choir’s poised ensemble. In the Missa breve ‘La Stella’, which forms the centrepiece of the programme, Christophers controls the interaction of different vocal groupings to marvellous effect. An excellent performance of Cibavit eos replaces the missing Benedictus.
The Sixteen concludes with a majestic rendering of Scarlatti’s Stabat mater. The very real sense of profound loneliness at ‘Morientem desolatum’, the agonisingly vivid depiction of the sword’s passing through Christ’s heart at ‘Poenas mecum divide’ and the operatic richness at ‘Inflammatus et accensus’ all enjoin the listener to share in the Virgin’s grief for her crucified son. Nicholas Rast