on 9 April 2001
I was initially attracted to this CD by the Stabat Mater, and although Andreas Scholl did not disappoint the high expectation I had of his performance, it was to the Cantate that I kept returning. "Ah! Ch'infelice sempre" is a masterpiece combining a hypnotic rythm with a sublime melody, creating ,in the expert hands of Scholl, an serene atmosphere of almost amused dejection. The ease and beauty of Scholl's voice is unquestionable, but his interpretation of the score and the text put him in a class of his own.Then we are treated to the elegant lines of the Largo "Sileant Zephyri" before we have even arrived at the Stabat Mater, for which Scholl's unparallelled tone is perfect. The moving "Eja Mater" is a particular highlight. Glorious music and a master performer with sensitive accompaniement from Ensemble 415 make this disc a particular favorite.
on 11 September 2012
I picked this cd up for about a fiver several years ago for the Stabat Mater which, as another reviewer rightly says, does not disappoint. But the 'filler' pieces are simply sensational. Ensemble 415's attack and articulation provide excellent and exciting partnership to Scholl's (here) wonderful singing. Cessate omai cessate, with its captivating raindrop figure is especially memorable. If I had to pick one cd out of my thousand-odd to rescue from a fire, it might very well be this one.
on 8 March 2015
Beautiful singing from Andreas Scholl, pitch perfect. Track 5 of RV 684, beautiful music, was spoilt for me by occasional over exhuberant volume in the singing that jarred...such a pity. Track 11 RV 638 is sublime and i play it every day. I also did find some of the violin music had a harsh and jarring (scratchy almost) sound to it, perhaps the quality of the recording or did the ensemble wish it to sound like that? The cd does sound cold and metallic in parts, possibly a vinyl would have sounded warmer. But lovely music nevertheless and shows a side to Vivaldi that is seldom heard.
on 12 December 2013
Good few years ago. In HMV in Oxford Street. Browsing for CDs.
Then this came on the store stereo. They cunningly stared off at Nell'orrido ect.
Absolutely nothing to touch it for attack and attention grabbingness.
Not being familiar with Andreas Scholl at the time, I just went over to the counter and asked what the hell that was, and can I have a copy please?
This is just dazzlingly good. I had previously just come across counter-tenors and pretty much ignored them. Weak and thin in general.
However, AS has tons of power and is very musical, for want of a better term. If he sings something, his interpretation of it is probably going to be the best version you'll hear. And it will be done distinctively, but without being radical for its own sake.
I've now got lots of his stuff, but have definitely tailed off recently. The more recent ones seem to be academic digging into obscure libraries and archives for unknown pieces, that are unknown for a good reason. Undistinctive, and unrescuable, even by him. I like a good tune.
However, when he's good, he is the best, and every household should have this CD.
(And the Pergolesi Stabat Mater with Barbara Bonney. And the 3 Counter Tenors - if only for Dominique Visse. He sang Pleurez Mes Yeux, and now everyone feels epic...)