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COMPOSERS: Mazzocchi
LABELS: Teldec
WORKS: Il coro di profeti; La catena d’Adone (excerpts); Christo smarrito
PERFORMER: Soloists; Tragicomedia/Stephen Stubbs, Erin Headley
CATALOGUE NO: 0630-12097-2
The title of this disc, Lagrime amare, comes from an astonishing setting of a lament for Mary Magdalene. Its rich, entreating melody and daring harmonies show how Mazzocchi, who lived in Rome in the early 17th century, brought the newest experiments in style to sacred as well as secular music. And the Tragicomedia group, with its varied and intelligent singers, serves this music extremely well. In Oda, e stupisca il mondo, Suzie Le Blanc rattles us into alertness with a vivid account of Moses parting the Red Sea, and in Signor, non sotto l’ombra she is joined by Barbara Borden for a truly ravishing duet. The warm profundity of the bass Harry van der Kamp can be heard to best effect in Peccantem me quotidie. In any case, it is rare and refreshing to hear Mazzocchi’s music at all: two of the most tantalising items on the disc are an extract from his opera La catena d’Adone, and three tracks devoted to portions of his oratorio Il coro di profeti. This recording prompts us to question the division of history into great composers (who are assumed always to be interesting) and obscure composers (who are not). Anthony Pryer