Crucifixus – The Organ
Despite the restricted theme of this disc there’s no lack of variety either in content or in the mode of performance. Lotti’s three settings of the Crucifixus have piercing dissonances and magically controlled diminuendi à 6; tensions created by dynamic contrasts à 8; and a starkness in the exposed entries à 10. The thick textures of Caldara’s à 16 use stile antico techniques in capturing a Baroque splendour similar to that of an El Greco painting.
Palestrina’s Stabat Mater and Anerio’s Christus factus est are more euphonious, and Gesualdo’s O vos omnes has a vigorous directness, not what you might expect from a murderer, and far removed from the expressive extravagance of some of his madrigals. Equally surprising for those who are encountering Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater à 10 will be the composer’s high quality technique and inspiration. It is all far removed from the sparkling harpsichord sonatas with which his name is associated, and the performance, like most of the other tracks, is exemplary.
Allegri’s Miserere faces strong competition on disc. The opening is atmospherically right, remote and impersonal with boyish soprano tone and easily-negotiated cadenzas. However, somewhat surprisingly, the supporting under parts sound insecure at these points when judged by the highest standards, as would be appropriate for the Vasari Singers.