Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Luigi Boccherini, Emanuele d'Astorga, Robert King|
Boccherini · D'Astorga - Stabat Mater / Gritton · Fox · Bickley · Agnew · Harvey · The King's Consort · King
Genres: Pop, Classical
Fine music, performances and recording
P. SIMPSON | North Yorkshire, United Kingdom | 08/25/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"The music on this disc is surprisingly lovely and varied. I say surprisingly because the only other performance of the Boccherini I am familiar with, on Erato, is fairly staid, safe and dull. However, I shouldn't really be surprised as Boccherini is always rewarding in safe hands, and there aren't many safer than Robert King. On this recording, partly due to its sparse instrumentation, the Boccherini emerges as a sacred chamber opera, quite theatrical in parts, carrying echoes of Pergolesi's famous predecessor. The final "Quando corpus morientur" is filled with pathos, sadness and longing.The singers are all good, though I must express a slight preference for Sarah Fox's more youthful-sounding soprano over the also beautiful Sarah Gritton and a clearer preference for Peter Harvey's bass over Paul Agnew's slightly thin tenor. Gritton is the sole soprano in the d'Astorga piece, which offers a slightly less extroverted but more dark and possibly even more intense piece. Susan Bickley adds a charming but reverential mezzo to the d'Astorga ensemble "Quic est homo" and to a dark and dramatic duo with Agnew. The piece opens with a wonderful chorus which is not only melodic but also genuinely tragic, with no false or superficial pathos If I have a caveat to offer about the performance it is only that I was too often too conscious of the "englishness" of it all. Voices and instruments lack a little fervour and are just a little too "polite" in a way in which some Italian and Spanish period ensembles wouldn't be. This approach has its virtues but it leaves you with respect and affection for both pieces but not necessarily with passionate identification. As a result, I've given four stars rather than five, but make no mistake, this is marvellous music (both pieces) given fine performances.Four stars too for the sound, rather than five. The dolorous opening chords of this lovely disc emerge from absolute silence and, throughout, the recording is unobtrusively at the service of the music. With the exception of the lovely soprano duet, "Eia Mater", in which there is a moment of congestion, voices are as well handled and as natural sounding as the King's Consort's instruments. If there is any slight criticism of the recording it is that the reverberation of the lower-pitched instruments detracts a little from the upper-pitch attack which the piece itself needs and, here, slightly lacks."