Posted: Aug 08, 2019 10:10 pm
by arugula2
Vivaldi - Stabat Mater. Margarethe Bence (contralto), Stuttgart Pro Musica Orchestra. Originally recorded in the late 60's (can't track down the exact year atm) and re-released on various labels. This is the only version I've heard which, imo, has a realistic tempo in certain verses (1 and 5; 3-4 and 7-8). They achieved this by pairing verses with similar scoring together. I don't think I've come across another rendition that does this. It has the benefit of extending the melody so that, for example, the opening isn't 2 minutes long, but rather almost 4 (2 might sound "unacceptable" in performance) without sacrificing the driving rhythm. Otherwise, to extend the melody most groups simply... e x t e n d it. Making it sound, not 'somber' imo, but anemic.

Another advantage of this recording is that, at least in the above 6 verses, the basso continuo includes both an organ and a harpsichord, in addition to base/cello. The running base line in verses 4 ("Que mœrebat et dolebat") and 8 ("Vidit suum dulcem natum") is a thing of beauty. Combined with the key signature (F minor) & vigorous tempo, these couplets manage an accusatory tone that pretty much all other versions lack.

Verses 1 & 5: 0:00-3:41
Verses 3&4 and 7&8: 6:17-9:03

A better "Amen" with Andreas Scholl (countertenor) & Ensemble 415: