A REISSUE OF A 1996 RECORDING AT A REDUCED PRICE!
Domenico Scarlatti's (1685-1757), the sixth son of Alessandro, reputation rests mainly on his enormous output, amounting to some 550 sonatas. Most of his fifteen known operas are lost, as are the majority of his oratorios and cantatas. In his sacred music Domenico shows elements of harmonic richness and melodic individuality but the main features of his settings of emotive texts are tuneful melodies which mix relgious deference with occasional elements of opera, well demonstrated in this fine setting of 'Salve Regina'.
Alessandro (1660-1725) with his more than six hundred cantatas, the majority of which are for solo voice with only continuo for accompaniment, has established himself by far the most prolific composer of cantatas of this era. Contemporary trends have moved towards the addition of instrumental accompaniments; usually strings and obbligato instruments in a high tessitura as demonstrated by the trumpet in his cantata 'Su le sponde del Tebro'.
Johann Adolf Hasse (1699-1783), has a huge compositional output that includes at least thirteen settings of the 'Salve Regina' (I REALLY LIKE THIS ONE.) Its style is distinctly operatic, mixing an attractive simplicity of melody with florid instrumental and vocal lines which are eminently suited to the voice.
The performance of these works under the capable direction of Robert King is flawless. For the listener what remains is whether the music and the individual performances are to your liking. James Bowman, countertenor, is an expericenced and skilled interpreter of what he sings. However, his diction sounds a bit unclear at times due to his overpowering and somewhat 'foggy' vocal quality. He is not MY favorite countertenor, but his delivery cannot be questioned; it is always correct. Moreover, he is considered by many to be one of the great singers from the U.k.
Deborah York, soprano, sings very well indeed with a pleasantly smooth sound and good diction that makes for an all-around solid performance. AND Crispian Steele-Perkens with his virtuoso trumpet playing, in which he soars effortlessly into the stratosphere, adds tremendously to this recording.
BBC MUSIC MAGAZINE: "Congratulations to Hyperion on imaginative programming of repertoire, some not otherwise available on disc. Highly recommended...for repeated enjoyable listening."
AMERICAN RECORD GUIDE: "This is exemplary. If you want an introduction to vocal writing in compact forms in early 18th century Italy, this is ideal."
The disc is accompanied by a booklet that includes pertinent information in English, French and German; text included translated to English.