Longstanding partners Sandrine Piau and Christophe Rousset have frequently performed the Stabat Mater, an emblematic work of the eighteenth-century Neapolitan repertory, both together and with other musicians. It was therefore a natural step for them to record this supreme masterpiece of sacred music. They are joined here by a relative newcomer to Les Talens Lyriques who has also become a regular partner with the ensemble, the American countertenor Christopher Lowrey (already heard on an Alpha disc devoted to Monteverdi, Alpha 216).
The programme is completed by a Beatus vir by Leonardo Leo (1694-1744), sung by Sandrine Piau, and a Salve Regina for alto by Nicola Porpora (1686-1768), two totally unknown works by two composers who were nevertheless very famous at the time – Porpora, for example, was Farinelli’s singing teacher and mentor to the youthful Haydn. Christophe Rousset finds in this music ‘an expression of very Mediterranean, very highly flavoured piety, in which one moves from tears to laughter quite quickly’. Sandrine Piau sees in Leo ‘an elegance of style, a certain distance in sorrow’.