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Robert Levett
International Record Review, August 2006

Pergolesi’s Stabat mater and Salve Regina together constitute his great ‘swan-song’, and although it’s tempting to impose upon these essentially galant works a greater sense of weight than is already present in the nature of the texts, most recordings do tend to emphasize either Pergolesi the composer of opera seria, commedie musicale and the brilliant intermezzo La serva padrona, or Pergolesi the consumptive composer suffusing his final two works with his own suffering. This latest recording tends towards the latter, with conductor and student of Catholic theology Helmut Müller-Bruhl adopting generally measured tempos while avoiding any lugubriousness through the transparent and finely judged string playing of the Cologne Chamber Orchestra. The soloists are veteran counter tenor Michael Chance, surely no stranger to these works, and, more unusually, male soprano Jorg Waschinski, the colour of whose voice more approximates that of a mezzo. Each complements the other perfectly, and although Waschinski’s top is very beautiful, it is never effortless, which actually turns out to be a big plus in communicating the anguish inherent in the text. A sense of discomfort, if only apparent, should be made manifest: just feel the remarkable effect of the high-lying ‘Ad te suspiramus’ in the Salve Regina. Muller-Bruhl definitely has something new to say here (the use of a male soprano assisting greatly), and at Naxos’s super-budget price there need not be any hesitation in adding it to your collection, even if you already own numerous recordings. Booklet notes and recorded sound are excellent.



Margaret Mc Namara
FM Program Guide, August 2006

This recording with these two voices allows us to hear Stabat Mater and Salve Regina as Pergolesi would most likely have intended them. The first was written for soprano, alto, strings and organ as a commission from the Confraternita dei Cavalieri di San Luigi di Palazzo, intended to be used by the brotherhood as music for Good Friday to replace Scarlatti's Stabat Mater. The Salve Regina in C minor was for soprano, strings and continuo. The two works were written when illness had caused Pergolesi to move from Naples to the Capuchin monastery in Pozzuoli in the last year of his life. He lived only twenty-six years and is said to have completed the Stabat Mater only days before his death. By contrast with some of his earlier compositions, which included oratorios and operas, these final works are simple yet charged with feeling. "I know of no music that from beginning to end, has had the same emotional impact on me as Pergolesi's, and the man who could remain cold and unmoved when hearing it does not deserve to be called a human being." These are the words of Johann Adam Hiller, an eighteenth century German composer who, by the way, saw fit to make a more elaborate version of the Stabat Mater by adding flutes and oboes. The performances of the artists on this recording create a truly elevating version of the twelve part Latin text (supplied in the booklet). Jorg Waschinski the German male soprano has extraordinary vocal ability and is known for singing the "lost" repertoire of the baroque castrati. Michael Chance is a most distinguished English counter tenor active in baroque opera, oratorio and song recitals. Helmut Müller­Bruhl, director and conductor of the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, has been responsible for the group's becoming famous for playing according to historical performance practice on modern instruments, meeting the demands of modern concert halls. Naxos has produced earlier recordings of this music, (for example it is on 8.556706, Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation), but this outstanding combination of musicians must have persuaded them in 2006 to publish this recording made in Cologne in 2003.



Margaret Mc Namara
FM Program Guide, August 2006

This recording with these two voices allows us to hear Stabat Mater and Salve Regina as Pergolesi would most likely have intended them. The first was written for soprano, alto, strings and organ as a commission from the Confraternita dei Cavalieri di San Luigi di Palazzo, intended to be used by the brotherhood as music for Good Friday to replace Scarlatti's Stabat Mater. The Salve Regina in C minor was for soprano, strings and continuo. The two works were written when illness had caused Pergolesi to move from Naples to the Capuchin monastery in Pozzuoli in the last year of his life. He lived only twenty-six years and is said to have completed the Stabat Mater only days before his death. By contrast with some of his earlier compositions, which included oratorios and operas, these final works are simple yet charged with feeling. "I know of no music that from beginning to end, has had the same emotional impact on me as Pergolesi's, and the man who could remain cold and unmoved when hearing it does not deserve to be called a human being." These are the words of Johann Adam Hiller, an eighteenth century German composer who, by the way, saw fit to make a more elaborate version of the Stabat Mater by adding flutes and oboes. The performances of the artists on this recording create a truly elevating version of the twelve part Latin text (supplied in the booklet). Jorg Waschinski the German male soprano has extraordinary vocal ability and is known for singing the "lost" repertoire of the baroque castrati. Michael Chance is a most distinguished English counter tenor active in baroque opera, oratorio and song recitals. Helmut Müller­Bruhl, director and conductor of the Cologne Chamber Orchestra, has been responsible for the group's becoming famous for playing according to historical performance practice on modern instruments, meeting the demands of modern concert halls. Naxos has produced earlier recordings of this music, (for example it is on 8.556706, Classical Music for Reflection and Meditation), but this outstanding combination of musicians must have persuaded them in 2006 to publish this recording made in Cologne in 2003.



Gramophone, August 2006

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Naxos

This is an extraordinary recording - not so much the repertoire as the performance itself. Joerg Waschinski has the most beautiful (and powerful) male soprano voice I have ever heard. With his counter-tenor partner in the Stabat Mater they form a is perfect match, and together produce simply heavenly results. Pergolesi's masterpiece was completed by the dying 20-year-old musical genius on his deathbed, and so impressed J.S.Bach that (like with some of Vivaldi's concertos) he was compelled to adapt and arrange the music. In the Salve Regina, Waschinski stars alone. The orchestra led by veteran baroque specialist Helmut Mueller-Bruehl provides discreet accompaniment. This recording is worth its weight in gold!






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5:35:10 AM, 21 December 2014
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