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Here is something entirely different. This performance is based on an unpublished manuscript kept in the library at Lyon which sheds a totally new light on the Pergolesi Stabat Mater. If you are used to beautifully crafted, restrained and reverential performances of this wonderful work, then you are in for a shock. The second solo voice is entrusted to a baritone while the fugues and verse are arranged for five voices. Le Concert de l’Hostel Dieu is noted for its vibrant and dramatic approach to ‘reinvent the concert format and aim at reaching new audiences of different ages…’ To further this aim, Franck- Emmanuel Comte and the group have incorporated Neapolitan polyphonies, songs and tarantellas (the latter with very earthy texts) – a mixture of sacred and profane, keeping alive the Neapolitan spirit. This is not unusual, as Holy Week is approached in an entirely different way in some countries, especially in South America. The singers, accompanied by period instruments, bring a dramatic, pulsating and reverential approach to their performance. It’s a unique concept.

SHIRLEY RATCLIFFE Read the full review on Agora Classica

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