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A contemporary interpretation
on 12 April 2013
Antonio Pappano (conductor) has come up with a very original interpretation of Pergolesi's "Stabat Mater" and other pieces. It has something in common with many other contemporary interpretations of various works in that it can be "love it" or "hate it". Being quite different to recent historically informed performances of baroque music, it is not going to please a number of people. On the other hand, it is a perfectly valid interpretation. To my ears, it has a lot of the drama of verismo together with some baroque fireworks. Heard in those terms, both the singing and playing are exquisite. Quite clearly, Pergolesi would not have intended it to be performed that way - he wouldn't have had the instruments, the singers or the approval of the Church! We are fortunate to be living in a time when there is nothing wrong with interpreting sacred music in this way. It conjures up the sort of emotions Mary would have felt watching her Son being nailed to a cross just as well as a good HIP recording, possibly better to ears not tuned to baroque.
If you are looking for a conventional (by recent standards) recording of Pergolesi's "Stabaat Mater", then look elsewhere. If you are an ardent fan of HIP baroque, you are likely to already have such a recording, but you may also like this one in your collection as a completely different and worthy take on it. If you are a fan of Anna Netrebko, this should not disappoint as long as you are not expecting her to sing in the manner of specialist baroque singers.
Although it's a five star product for me, I've awarded it four stars so as to draw attention to there being issues that potential buyers should be aware of.