Concerto Romano, Alessandro Quarta
Christophorus CHR 77398
Several times I have written in these pages about the different reaction one can have, purely based on the equipment one hears a recording on. I listened to this passion oratorio during a car journey and was not impressed; some of the soprano singing was so shrill there was even interference with the speakers. So I was slightly confused when a Radio 3 presenter praise the release for the fine quality of the singing.
I am glad – as I always am – that listening to it again on a different machine altered my first impressions; while I am still not 100% convinced by some of the “drama”, there is much to recommend the performance overall, and it is high time we had more recordings of this sort of repertoire. It is slightly disappointing that Pasquini does not take the opportunity to write choruses at the end of each half, with or without the violins. The second half is actually preceded here with a sinfonia from an earlier Modenese Pasquini oratorio about St Vitus. I know I am in the minority in not buying into the current aural kaleidoscopic approach to continuo; of course manuscripts of Luigi Rossi’s works contain references to various instruments, but never within a section, and certainly not the diversity of sounds as has become fashionable – on I’m not sure quite what grounds… Overall a welcome release and something different to contemplate next Easter.