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30.10.14

Briefly Noted: Scarlatti the Younger

available at Amazon
D. Scarlatti, Stabat mater (inter alia), Vox Luminis

(re-released on June 24, 2014)
Ricercar RIC258 | 61'42"
Italian composer Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757) now is known mostly for his bite-size keyboard sonatas, mostly composed when he worked for crowned heads in Portugal and Spain. However, like his father, Alessandro, Scarlatti filius also composed sacred music, including for the period in the second decade of the 18th century when he served as a papal composer, leading the Capella Giulia at the Vatican. The chamber choir Vox Luminis, founded in Belgium in 2004, devoted their first recording, originally released in 2007, to Domenico's sacred music. Just re-released this summer, this disc is a fine introduction to some Baroque delicacies. In the solo department, there is especially the two-voice setting of the Salve regina, the paired soprano and countertenor voices woven together in braided lines with organ, viola da gamba, and especially theorbo on the continuo line. The Stabat mater, for ten voices (SSSSAATTBB), is the major achievement, a work of intense devotion that is the musical equivalent of a Tiepolo Madonna. At almost a half-hour in length, most of that involving all of the voices, it is easy to lose oneself in its twists and turns. Less noteworthy versions of the Te deum and Miserere round out the disc, with a couple of the keyboard works for organ.

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