Pergolesi: Stabat mater

Silvia Frigato soprano, Sara Mingardo alto, Accademia degli Astrusi, Federico Ferri
63:53
Concerto Classics The Magic Of Live 05
+ Vivaldi: Nisi Dominus RV608, Concerto RV169

These live concert recordings of two great vocal works by Pergolesi and Vivaldi separated by the latter’s brief Sinfonia ‘Al Santo Sepulcro’ are showcases for the two eminent Italian vocalists Silvia Frigato and Sara Mingardo, whose powerful performances carry the day. They are ably supported by one of the increasing number of excellent Italian period instrument ensembles, the Accademia degli Astrusi, whose neat and sympathetic playing avoids the voices being swamped in the cavernous acoustic of Santa Maria della Vita in Bologna. The CD opens with a generous burst of applause which usefully intimates that this is a concert, and indeed there are various rustlings, coughings and shufflings throughout, which however didn’t distract me too much from these fine performances. The tortured faces of statues from the concert venue which adron the packaging are in perfect concord with the visceral music of the programme, and there is a helpful programme note by Francesco Lora, which only suffers a little from the latest fashion of skimping on professional translation fees. To my mind these recordings capture how these works might very well have sounded in their composers’ lifetimes, full of the drama of live performance and playing out to large and less than reverentially silent public gatherings.

D. James Ross