Magazine article Gramophone

'Spirit, Strength & Sorrow'

Magazine article Gramophone

'Spirit, Strength & Sorrow'

Article excerpt

'Spirit, Strength & Sorrow' [G]

Settings of the Stabat mater by Casciolini, Firsova, Korvits, M Martin and D Scarlatti The Sixteen / Harry Christophers

Coro [F] COR16127 (69' * DDD * T/t)

Ever innovative in their programming, Harry Christophers and The Sixteen juxtapose Domenico Scarlatti's beautiful 10-part Stabat mater--stile antico polyphony viewed through the prism of the Italian Baroque--and three new settings of verses from the 13th-century poem commissioned by the Genesis Foundation. All three are touching and effective: imaginative in their choral sonorities and colouring of the text, skilfully balancing a strong feeling for tradition with a distinctive individual voice.

Tonu Korvits draws on folk music from a south-eastern region of his native Estonia in a flavoursome mix of modality and tortuous chromaticism. Emphasising compassion and the blissful certainty of paradise over sin and suffering, Russian-born Alissa Firsova distils a quiet, luminous ecstasy in slow-moving textures that evoke both the music of the Orthodox liturgy and (in its oscillations between major and minor) the Western tonal tradition. …

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