Trevor Pinnock, English Concert And Choir - Christmas In Rome: Gloria

Wednesday 1st June 1994
Trevor Pinnock, English Concert And Choir - Christmas In Rome: Gloria

STYLE: Orchestral
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Archiv 4378342

Reviewed by John Irvine

It was traditional for the aristocrats and church dignitaries of Baroque Rome to commission cantatas, choral pieces and instrumental works at Christmas as an edifying and entertaining way of passing the festive season. The desire to combine aesthetic pleasure and spiritual instruction led to a glut of compositions, every major church in Rome each year vying with each other to obtain the services of the foremost composer/musicians of the day to attract people to their church rather than any other. Few of these pieces are still performed today and usually in a non-Christmas context. To cut a long story short, just because the album is called 'Christmas In Rome' doesn't mean that you only listen to it at Christmas. Three pieces are recorded here: Corelli's "Christmas Concerto", Vivaldi's "Gloria" and Alessandro Scarlatti's "O Di Betlemme Altera". The performances are excellent throughout and the disc is very well recorded. However, "Gloria" and the "Christmas Concerto" have been recorded many, many times. Why record them again? In the case of the "Gloria", it is very energetically and convincingly performed, quite a superlative version in fact. The same cannot be said of the "Christmas Concerto". Yawn. Hit the 'skip' button. The real gem on the collection is the Scarlatti piece, which is not very often played and is a real breath of fresh air on this collection. It's a shame more less-well-known works were not included.

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