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A poignant, sorrowful intimacy at the opening sets a mood that is maintained throughout the Stabat Mater. The rich, mellifluous voice of counter-tenor Philippe Jaroussky blends perfectly with the fresh, young, bell-like tones of soprano Julia Lezhneva, and together they perform the score effortlessly and with great understanding, accompanied by the flawless, expressive playing of I Barocchisti. Two psalm settings follow: Laudate pueri and Confitebor tibi Domine are lighter, more extrovert pieces than the Stabat Mater. More varied instrumentation in the Laudate provides a fuller harmonic depth, and the chorus acts as a fitting foil to the soloists. The outstanding musicality of these performers under Fasolis is a marriage made in heaven. Combined with a clear recording in sympathetic acoustics, it could make this my CD of the year.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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