Antonio Vivaldi, Jakub Józef Orlinski, Capella Cracovienis - Stabat Mater

Published Monday 14th March 2022
Antonio Vivaldi, Jakub Józef Orlinski, Capella Cracovienis - Stabat Mater
Antonio Vivaldi,  Jakub Józef Orlinski, Capella Cracovienis - Stabat Mater

STYLE: Classical
RATING 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
LABEL: Erato

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

The 'Stabat Mater' ('Grieving Mother') of Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) is one of the greatest vocal works of a great composer and has been recorded many times in many and various combinations of voice and instruments. On this release we hear a sublime performance by Polish counter-tenor Jakub Józef Orliński with the accomplished help of the Capella Cracoviensis on period instruments under the direction of organist Jan Tomasz Adamus. A beautiful work sung with passion and power by a rising vocal star and thus well worth hearing. However, all we hear on this CD is the single work, Vivaldi's 'Stabat Mater' and that is all. So that is 18 minutes very well spent and that's all. Usually the piece is included in a fuller collection of works by Vivaldi - and there are plenty to choose from - or is doubled up with another 'Stabat Mater', with Pergolesi's being a popular partner. But here we get one 'Stabat Mater' in all its stark glory. It is as though Orliński and his team are telling us something: this - is - it. Listen to it! And I did and I am very glad to have heard it but only you can decide if this mid-price release is worth your hard-earned money. The presentation is good, with an interesting essay by Michael Talbot and a full text with translations but with so many other recordings available I am not sure that this stands out sufficiently, good though it undoubtedly is. As well as the CD we get a visual interpretation on an accompanying DVD. Now we can see Jakub Józef Orliński as well as hear him in what is, I have to say, one of the strangest music videos I have seen in a long time. It has been given a '15' rating due to 'strong bloody violence, sex, and threat.' Yes, the story that is told through the 'Stabat Mater' is harrowing as Mother Mary grieves other her brutally tortured and executed Son. The 'narrative music video' is indeed bloody and brutal and is certainly not for the squeamish but (and this is the final but for this review) I cannot get it out of my mind. I could not recommend showing it within your Good Friday service but I will certainly watch and listen again within my personal devotions. Definitely well worth hearing but not necessarily the best value for money.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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