Stabat Mater by Pergolesi and Cantatas BWV 54 & 170
Two of Bach's finest cantatas, both for solo alto, composed in Weimar (1714) and Leipzig (1726) respectively, are here coupled with Pergolesi's Stabat Mater of 1736, the eighteenth century's favourite sacred work. The gap between the austere Lutheran piety and searing Mediterranean emotionalism might seem unbridgeable. Yet Bach so admired the composition of his Neopolitan colleague that he made his own 'parody' of it to a German text. On this recording, La Muova Musica and it's two eminent soloists display equal mastery of both idioms. Counter-tenor Tim Mead is praised for his “alluring...consistently excellent” interpretations (The New York Times). With his “rich, mellifluous sound” (Guardian), he is recognised as one of the finest across the generations of counter-tenors. Described as having a voice of bell-like clarity with an impeccable vocal technique and powerful stage presence, Lucy Crowe has established herself as one of the leading lyric sopranos of her generation.
Leçons De Ténèbres by Couperin
harmonia mundi HMU807659
Music for Holy Week. François Couperin served as harpsichordist to Louis XIV and was famed for reforming elegant chamber music of the French court in the more impassioned Italian style of the time. For his Leçons de Ténèbres, a setting of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, “Couperin le Grand” fused devotional expression with a dramatic performing style embodied here by sopranos Lucy Crowe and Elizabeth Watts. Two Trio Sonatas and a Stabat Mater by Sébastien de Brossard round out this luminous programme.
Ravishing tribute by early music’s finest voices Lucy Crowe is ecstatic and golden, ravishing in her upper flourishes and the way she pushes and lingers on those achy-sweet dissonances. In the second lesson, Elizabeth Watts is grainier, softer-edged, earthier. When they sing together in the third lesson, the combination is breathtaking. ”
Kate Molleson - The Guardian
A Royal Trio | Arias by Handel, Ariosti & Bononcini
harmonia mundi HMU807590
A dazzling Royal trio. Founded in 1719 as the first opera company in the English-speaking world, the Royal Academy of Music commissioned and premiered some of the finest 18th-century operas, including Handel’s Giulio Cesare. Renowned American countertenor Lawrence Zazzo is joined by La Nuova Musica and David Bates for a snapshot of the Academy’s hits circa 1725, featuring arias by Handel, Ariosti, and Bononcini.
“The music director (Bates) and countertenor (Zazzo) are a pairing made in Handel heaven.”
The Guardian (concert review)
harmonia mundi HMU807588
David Bates leads La Nuova Musica in “Sacrifices,” a program of intensely dramatic oratorios from the middle Baroque: Giacomo Carissimiʼs Historia di Jephte; Marc-Antoine Charpentierʼs Sacrificium Abrahae and Le Reniement de saint Pierre, interspersed with instrumental music by Sébastien de Brossard. The birth of the Oratorio was thanks to Giacomo Carissimi and his exceptional setting of Jephte. Along side this trail blazer, LNM perform Oratorios by Carissimi’s Student M A Charpentier alongside delicious instrumental preludes by Sebastien De Brossard. Sebastien de Brossard: Sonate en trio
Sopranos: Sophie Junker, Mhairi Lawson, Alice Gribbin, Grace Davidson, High Tenors: Nick Scott, Daniel Auchincloss, Tenors: Simon Wall, William Balkwill, Thomas Heford, Baritone: James Arthur, Jonathan McGovern, Bass: Tim Dickinson, Violins: Bojan Cicic and Sabine Stoffer, Violas: Stephanie Helchelheim and Rachel Stott, Gamba: Jonathan Rees, G Violone: Timothy Amherst, Harpsichord/Organ: Joseph McHardy, Theorbo: Alex McCartney
“Without the harrowing visual element one can more easily appreciate how intensely moving these cantatas are in their own right. Sacrifice may be the theme but sensuality predominates. Beautiful, cleanly etched singing and playing”
Richard Morrison - The Times, 26th July 2014
Dixit Dominus - Handel & Vivaldi
G. F. Handel (1685-1759) Dixit Dominus HWV232 | A. Vivaldi (1678-1741) Dixit Dominus RV807 | In furore iustissimae RV626
harmonia mundi USA HMU80758
David Bates leads La Nuova Musica in a pair of contrasting settings of Psalm 109 for harmonia mundi USA. Handel’s masterful and ambitious HWV 282 was penned in 1707 during a youthful visit to Italy. Vivaldi’s vivid and economical RV 807 (his third “Dixit Dominus”) was long mistakenly attributed to Baldassare Galuppi; it probably dates from the early 1730s. Rounding out the programme is Vivaldi’s dazzling motet for solo voice, in furore iustissimae irae, featuring soprano Lucy Crowe.
"The central solo cantata In furore giustissimae irae, RV 626, of Vivaldi will not be appearing on any amateur choral series; it's a punishingly difficult work, probably composed for the power of the male castrato, and it receives a speaker-shredding performance here from soprano Lucy Crowe. .....With clear studio sound from Harmonia Mundi, this release merits a place in any Baroque choral library."
Rupert Christiansen - The Daily Telegraph
Handel: Il Pastor Fido (1712)
harmonia mundi USA HMU907585-86
For its harmonia mundi USA debut, La Nuova Musica and David Bates present a true rarity: the original 1712 version of Handel’s second London opera, Il Pastor Fido. Recorded in the beautiful acoustic of London’s Temple Church, this recording features a stellar young cast and brings back to life a score teeming with theatre and invention.
‘The performance is exemplary, crisply conducted by David Bates and illuminated by stylish contributions from the soprano Lucy Crowe, the mezzo Madeleine Shaw and the countertenor Clint van der Linde.’
Rupert Christiansen - The Daily Telegraph