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Pergolesi: Stabat Mater

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About this title: Russian Julia Lezhneva here shows an admirably gutsy attitude toward developing her repertory, avoiding familiar milestones in favor of an original project. Here she is paired with French countertenor Philippe Jaroussky in a program of works by Pergolesi for two high voices, strings, and continuo: the Stabat mater, for which there are plenty of other recordings, and the less-common Laudate pueri dominum and Confitebor tibi Domine. The distinctive feature here -- which might tempt some to use the word "gimmick," but listen before doing so -- is that Lezhneva fashions her voice into a very close copy of Jaroussky's, which is not at all an easy thing to do. Put this together with the precise, rather edgy playing of I Barocchisti under Diego Fasolis, and the result is a rather otherworldly Stabat mater. The tragic quality of the work and its association with Pergolesi's short life are played down (probably a good thing, for Pergolesi wasn't planning to die at age 26) in favor of creating a hypnotic globe...

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