Towards Better Democracy

Good words, well written, better the world. Good literature betters the world immeasurably.

Claudio Saracini – Stabat Mater


Claudio Saracini – Stabat Mater


The discussion that follows is spread across four posts, this one and

 

Giovanni Felice Sances – Stabat Mater, Carlos Mena, counter tenor; Philippe Pierlot, conductor

Fascinating contrast of interpretation this with the previous of the same composer’s work. At first blush you would be hard pressed to say that both performances are of the same work. About all that the two interpretations have in common is the use in each of a counter tenor. At no point does Pluhar treat the work as a Baroque composition but takes the performance style back to Rennaince. To choose a well know composer, Claudio Monteverdi, his dates are 1567 –  1643

Sances’ dates of c1600 – 1679 place him well before the two masters of the setting, Alessandro Scarlatti, 1724 and Giovanni Battista Pergolesi, 1736 composed theirs. Phillippe Pierlot choses to follow firmly the later Baroque tradition with some nodding to the previous era with the word painting. Notable is having Carlos Mena switch registers. The instrumentation and pace are pure Baroque. These are all choices that Pierlot has made in his interpretation of how the work should be performed. The lush, smooth sound is pure modern.

These two recordings are a fascinating contrast of interpretation, this with the previous of the same composer’s work. At first blush you would be hard pressed to say that both performances are of the same work. About all that the two interpretations have in common is the use in each of a counter tenor. At no point does Pluhar treat the work as a Baroque composition but takes the performance style back to Rennaince. To choose a well know composer, Claudio Monteverdi, his dates are 1567 – 1643. This puts Sance’s musical style closer to that of Monteverdi than Pergolesi or Sacarlatti Senior. Pluhar has made a career of placing the music she and her performers play in the period prior to the Baroque complete with not simply authentic instruments but the correct ones, in her use of the theoboro for example.

On first meeting Sance’s work the inclination is it accept Pierlot’s interpretation as the correct one. In fact, we simply don’t know enough about performance styles before the baroque period. However, Pluhar’s approach is the historically correct one, however startling it at first seems.

My preference is for Pierlot’s interpretation is based purely on my familiarity and discovery of the Stabat Mater itself based on compositions written in the Baroque era.That Pluhar’s approach is closer to what we might have heard at the time is borne out by listening to Claudio Saracini’s Stabat Mater, a composer with whom I am quite unfamiliar. On the other hand Pluhar has made her career to put the music of Montiverdi and others firmly into the listener’s ear. In Monteverdi we have as fine as any that have lived. We owe her a great debt to what she has achieved. Prior to her instance on using instruments faithful to the time and a carefully researched playing style based on the best information available to allow her to recreate what contemporary listeners might have heard.

Still, listening to this recording of this composer’s, Saracini, work and that of Sance’s I am still rooted in the Baroque. That may simply be that new jewel equivalent to those of Pergolas and Scarlatti exist, or have not yet been discovered, in the previous era. These two works are poor compared to those just mentioned and to the works of Monteverdi.

When I was growing up Baroque was unknown to modern listeners. It took the efforts of a few conductions, notably Christopher Hogwood in England and Nikilas Harnoncourt to bring the Baroque into the modern world. The result was a revelation and a vastly increased audience. Few listeners don’t know or have not listened to Vivaldi, even if they are unaware of the fact since so much classical music gets buried in film scores unattributed.

 

 

Filed under: Arts, Media, poetry, songs, stories

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: