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Penguin Guide, January 2009

The Immortal Bach Ensemble…sing warmly and sensitively, and offer equally fine accounts of the enterprising bonues.

Robert Hugill
MusicWeb International, August 2008

This new disc from the Immortal Bach Ensemble allows us to hear a selection of his early sacred music. The Immortal Bach Ensemble was founded in 2001 by Morten Schuldt-Jensen as the Leipzig based Gewandhaus Kammerchor. ...The choir numbers just ten singers (four soprano, two alto, two tenor, two bass) so that in the double choir works we are reduced to one singer to a part in the lower registers, which possibly reflects the practice of Scarlatti’s time. This means that we are very dependent on the quality of the individual singers. By and large they stand up to this scrutiny, impressing with their vividness and commitment even if they are not quite as clean as would be ideal in some of the more elaborate passages.

The music on this disc provides a fascinating glimpse of the Italian Domenico Scarlatti, before he commenced his great sequence of harpsichord sonatas. The music is unfailingly good-natured, enjoyable, attractive and well put together, whilst missing the element of greatness which characterizes his harpsichord works.

In these performers he has fine interpreters. I would have preferred a slightly larger choral group for the double choir works, but the singers cope admirably and the slips are slight and only occasional. They more than compensate by their varied and vivid performances, with a lively attention to the text. This is an attractive disc, highly recommendable to anyone wanting to find out what Domenico Scarlatti did before he wrote harpsichord sonatas.

J.F. Weber
Fanfare, August 2008

This is a recommendable collection that should appeal to Baroque enthusiasts, especially for the unfamiliar works.

Giv Cornfield
The New Recordings, Cliffs Classics, April 2008

Domenico Scarlatti's fame rests mainly on the hundreds of 2-movement keyboard sonatas that are the bread and butter of harpsichordists and pianists). Yet any composer of the era was expected to write a whole lot of church music, and this disc gives us a fair sampling of same. The performances are heartfelt and expert, filling in a necessary void in the recorded repertoire.

David Vickers
Gramophone, April 2008

I had no expectation to be thrilled by the Immortal Bach Ensemble—formerly the Leipzig Gewandhaus Chamber Choir—but in the event this budget-price Naxos disc showcases performances that are lovingly sung and finely crafted. In the first movement of the Magnificat the exposed tenors experience some tuning problems, but generally the small group of singers performs with impressive sonority and precise blend. © 2008 Gramophone Read complete review on Gramophone

Johan van Veen
MusicWeb International, March 2008

"The singing of the vocal ensemble consists of very skilled singers with nice voices, which blend well and at the same time have the qualities to sing solo passages"...."The works on this disc are given fine performances. In particular the Te Deum and the Mass are very well sung."

David Denton
David's Review Corner, December 2007

Born in Naples in 1685, the son of the distinguished musician, Alessandro Scarlatti, Domenico began his professional career as a church organist and composer in his native city. From there he had a nomadic career before arriving in Portugal during the early 1720's in service of the royal family, principally as music teacher to Maria Barbara in Lisbon. Maria's marriage to the Spanish crown prince in 1729 took Domenico first to Seville, then to Madrid four years later, and it was there that he died in 1757. For such a famous musician too little is know of his life outside of music, a fact made worse by the Lisbon earthquake of 1755 which destroyed much of his music written in that Portuguese period. Today he is largely known as the composer of an enormous amount of keyboard music, often said to have been written for Maria Barbara, though that must be a little in doubt as it often calls for a player of considerable virtuosity. It is apparent that he composed in many genres, including seven operas during his time in Rome beginning in 1710, and it would have been in that period, as musician to the exiled Queen of Poland, that much of his sacred music was completed. Exact dates are not known, and the Stabat Mater may have been earlier than his time in Rome. We do, however, know that the Te Deum was composed in his time in Lisbon. Very different to his keyboard works that push forward musical boundaries, his choral works sit well back in tradition and could well have been the work of his father. What was required for accompaniments must be open to debate, the conductor, Morten Schuldt-Jensen, opting for a violone, theorbo and chamber organ, though we hear too little from them. The Magnificat is the odd one out being performed a cappella. Their choice of name is not good, the Immortal Bach Ensemble, sounding too much like a group of singers doing a moonlighting job while hiding their real name. Professional singers previously known as the Leipzig Gewandhaus Chamber Choir, the sopranos take the place of the boy trebles Monteverdi would have used in church services. No problem with British choral groups where sopranos know the sound they must make to replace trebles, the Leipzig sopranos are quite smooth in quality and sound like females. Still, lets not be ungrateful, the music is highly attractive, the singing is pleasing and the conductor keeps the music pushing forward at urgent tempos. Sound quality is admirable.

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