After the great success of their first disc for Arcana featuring two unpublished masterpieces by Pergolesi, which won the ‘Diapason Découverte’ award, Giulio Prandi and the Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri return with a new recording, devoted to Niccolò Jommelli’s Requiem. Composed in 1756 for the solemn obsequies of the Duke of Württemberg’s mother, it became the most popular Requiem setting in Europe until Mozart’s, written in 1791. Jommelli’s work, which is bound to surprise even the most seasoned enthusiast of this repertory, is dominated by a luminous intimacy that does not rely on fearsome and spectacular effects, but concentrates on vocal beauty and subtle musical narration. The voices of Sandrine Piau and Carlo Vistoli lie at the heart of a structure in which the choir participates in an iridescent contrapuntal texture making full use of the skills gained during the composer’s years in Venice and Rome. The outcome of a long process of research, this recording is based on a new critical edition that presents for the first time a coherent and complete score of the Requiem, and incorporates the sections in plainchant, thus restoring the authentic musical balance Jommelli intended the work’s first listeners to experience.
BBC Music Magazine December 2020
The Ghislieri Choir and Orchestra are highly responsive to Prandi’s ardent direction and the plainchant (sung by the Ghislieri Schola Cantorum) is supple and cleanly articulated. The soloists include a radiant Sandrine Piau; the others take a more operatic approach with a rather intrusive use of vibrato – though this is a minor quibble over an otherwise eloquent reading balancing piety and drama to poignant effect. ****
Sunday Times 13th September 2020
It’s a devotional piece, unassumingly scored for strings and organ, in a style that echoes the example of Pergolesi’s famous Stabat Mater. This period performance has fine soloists, led by a radiant Sandrine Piau, and Prandi is a committed advocate.