Animam gementem cano

Tůma: Stabat Mater; Biber: Requiem
Pluto-Ensemble, Marnix De Cat, Hathor Consort, Romina Lischka
Ramée RAM 1914
+Sonatas by Biber & Schmelzer, Partita by Clamer

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Tůma set the Stabat mater text several times; this recording features a previously unrecorded version, which the director of the Pluto-Ensemble came across in a library in Ottobeuren. Like Biber’s F minor Requiem, it is performed in the round with solo singers and one-per-part ripienists, single strings (with gambas playing the middle parts) and trombones and a “proper” organ. The recording captures a glorious sound, voices and instruments well blended in a warm but not overly resonant acoustic. As De Cat says during the YouTube video the group made for the launch, the violin floats above the texture – and Sophie Gent’s playing is angelic. In between the two pieces with voices, we hear sonatas in G by Biber and his fellow fiddler, Schmelzer, which in turn sandwich a four-movement Partita in E minor by Andreas Christophorus Clamer. I am not usually a fan of mixing violins and gambas in this repertoire, but I must confess that the Hathor Consort make a very convincing case for me broadening my mind! All in all, this recording takes us deep into the soul of the late 17th century and it is a marvellous and cathartic experience!

Brian Clark

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