COMPOSERS: Antonio Lotti
ALBUM TITLE: Lotti
WORKS: Dixit Dominus in G minor; Miserere in C minor; Missa Sancti Christophori; Credo in G minor
PERFORMER: The Syred Consort; Orchestra of St Paul’s/Ben Palmer
CATALOGUE NO: Delphian DCD 34182
Fêted in his day for ‘compositions the most perfect of their kind’, Antonio Lotti held the prestigious position of maestro di cappella at St Mark’s, Venice, and also enjoyed a career as an opera composer and teacher of the famous female choir of the Ospedale degli Incurabili. Bach and Handel both owned copies of his music, the latter even ‘borrowing’ from it in some of his own works. Yet, despite the high reputation he enjoyed in the 18th century, Lotti is barely known today beyond his settings of the Crucifixus, so this disc is a particularly welcome unveiling of four rapturous sacred works, thanks to a happy marriage of scholarship and performance. The music is a pleasant fusion of the rigorous Baroque idiom, with its linear energy and complexity, and the then-fashionable style gallant, characterised by suave melodies and lighter textures.
Conductor Ben Palmer draws alert responses from The Syred Consort, highlighting to dramatic effect moments of vivid word painting, expressive chromaticisms and dissonance. There are stylish solo contributions, too, from the consort’s youthful singers, notably Rachel Ambrose Evans and Ciara Hendrick, whose chaste voices create a sense of rapt spirituality in the C minor Miserere. Despite its slender numbers, the Orchestra of St Paul’s produces a lush orchestral sound, aptly suggesting the extravagance of Venetian sacred music. The recording is warm and resonant, though the solo voices are a shade distant in the rich polychoral textures of the G minor Credo.