Spirit, Strength and Sorrow
Spirit Strength and Sorrow is the fascinating result of The Sixteen’s third major collaboration with the Genesis Foundation and features three new works by contemporary composers, all settings of the Stabat Mater text: Alissa Firsova, Tõnu Kõrvits and Matthew Martin.
The Stabat Mater is, in conductor Harry Christophers’ view, without doubt the most powerful poem of the liturgy and one which has inspired composers through the ages.
The three young composers featured on this disc represent different backgrounds and cultures: Alissa Firsova, with her intricate harmonic language drawing on her roots in Russian Orthodoxy; Tõnu Kõrvits, inspired by the scales and intonations from the folklore of a south-eastern region of his homeland Estonia; and Matthew Martin, whose detailed composition harks back to previous traditions surrounding Stabat Mater.
Harry writes: ’I have also included the simple yet meltingly beautiful plainsong tune which so often served as the basis for Renaissance and Baroque composers, as portrayed in Claudio Casciolini’s setting. And the whole is polished off with Domenico Scarlatti’s extraordinary and amazingly virtuosic work for ten voices and continuo.
The Sixteen and the Genesis Foundation last collaborated on the O Guiding Night recording (COR16090), which featured commissions by Tarik O’Regan, Ruth Byrchmore and Roderick Williams.
'Three new responses to the [Stabat Mater] text... are sung here with faultless clarity by The Sixteen.' The Observer ★★★★
'A fine setting by Matthew Martin... is hauntingly sung here by The Sixteen who boast admirable credentials as performers of contemporary music.' Early Music Review
'This is indeed a fascinating compilation, one that brings new life to a familiar subject.' International Record Review
'In all the works here The Sixteen sing with their now-familiar eloquence and polish. Caught in the glowing acoustic of St Augustine's, Kilburn, their sound is beautifully integrated over a wide dynamic range, their intonation well-nigh perfect.' Gramophone
Performance ★★★★ Recording ★★★★★ BBC Music Magazine
1. Stabat Mater (Plainsong)
Alissa Firsova (b.1986)
2. Stabat Mater
Tonu Korvits (b.1969)
3. Stabat Mater
Claudio Casciolini (1697-1760)
4. Stabat Mater
Matthew Martin (b. 1976)
5. Stabat Mater
Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757)
6. Stabat Mater
TOTAL PLAYING TIME: 1hr 9mins