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Alessandro Scarlatti’s St John Passion was the first Passion setting written in seventeenth-century Italy. Scarlatti treats the role of the Evangelist (composed in the mezzo-soprano register) in highly unusual fashion, giving his narrative numerous emotional passages. The Voice of Christ (bass) is invariably haloed by a string accompaniment.
The version presented by Leonardo García Alarcón inserts meditations assigned to the chorus; these are taken from Scarlatti’s Responsories for Holy Week, polyphonic settings that reveal a little-known genre practised by this composer.