Album Review

Posted: Thursday 11th February 1999
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Crucifixus – Organists’ Review

This disc contains both some of the best-loved Passiontide polyphony and a number of items that have only recently become better known. It is good to see Lotti’s three versions of the Crucifixus on the same recording – whilst the eight-part setting is ever popular, the ten-voice version is a work of great intensity whose long lines are conveyed superbly here. The opening of O vos omnes by Gesualdo is perhaps a little robust for some tastes on this recording, but the commitment of the performers to the tortured harmonic vocabulary of the work, which can still sound surprising four centuries after its composition, is never in doubt.

The concluding work in the selection is Domenico Scarlatti’s setting of the Stabat Mater. This work is scored for ten voices and continuo, with four soprano voices contributing fundamentally to the timbre of the composition. Jeremy Backhouse produces a performance that is compelling in its sense of line, with the climaxes suitably expansive. The Vasari Singers produce some highly controlled singing, with the flexibility necessary to mould the often sinuous lines together. The disc is worth buying for this work alone – the combination with the other gems from the repertoire makes it a must.

Organists’ Review