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Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Septem Verba a Christo / Sophie Karthäuser, Christophe Dumaux, Julian Behr, Konstantin Wolff. René Jacobs

Album Summary

>Pergolesi, Giovanni : Septem Verba a Christo, for soloists, chorus & orchestra (spurious)
Performer Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

The history of the oratorio Septem verba a Christo in cruce moriente prolata is as shrouded in mystery as its probable creator. The title of the work and the assertion of Pergolesi's authorship have haunted musicological circles for a century or so, initially on the sole basis of an incomplete manuscript catalogued in the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek since 1882 and regarded there as genuine. The recent discovery of two more manuscripts in the abbeys of Kremsmünster and Aldersbach by musicologist Reinhard Fehling settled the issue of authenticity once and for all and Pergolesi's lost masterpiece was given its concert première at the Beaune Festival in July 2012 and recorded shortly after by the Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin led by René Jacobs. Featured soloists include soprano Sophie Karthäuser, counter-tenor Christophe Dumaux, tenor Julian Behr and bass-baritone Konstantin Wolff.

In no other group is such a uniformly high level of individual virtuosity fused into such a powerful communal sound.

Sunday Times, 3rd March 2013
This hybrid cycle of seven early-18th-century cantatas based on the Seven Last Words is deeply impressive...The mood ranges wide, from fiery, coloratura-laden anger to a touching lyricism.

The Guardian, 21st March 2013
The music is both constantly surprising and often profoundly eloquent; Jacobs's soloists, as well as the instrumentalists of the Berlin orchestra, project that sense of devotional wonder without a trace of self-conscious piety.

Charlotte Gardner, bbc.co.uk, 11th March 2013
The work is beautiful, and its deeply spiritual loveliness has been realised in a fine period performance. Certainly, it won't be languishing in dusty libraries any more. It is, in its own way, just as sublime as the Stabat Mater, and René Jacobs and his musicians have given it a comprehensive rehabilitation.

American Record Guide, July/August 2013
This is music of great emotional and expressive power. The B sections of the arias generally present a contrast in tempo and meter with the outer sections. For what it is worth, there are many turns of phrase in this work that strongly remind me of melodic gestures in Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Reinhard Fehling claims that there are even deeper structural parallels between this work and authenticated compositions by Pergolesi. This is a remarkable work that richly deserves to be better known. The performance is exemplary in technical polish and artistic poise. The vocal soloists are outstanding early music singers whose delivery is. I would not hesitate to recommend this recording.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Teldex Studio Berlin (08/2012).


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Works Details

>Pergolesi, Giovanni : Septem Verba a Christo, for soloists, chorus & orchestra (spurious)
  • Performer: Konstantin Wolff (Bass Baritone)
  • Conductor: René Jacobs
  • Ensemble: Akademie fur Alte Musik Berlin
  • Running Time: 76 min. 59 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque