The Sixteen adds to its stunning Handel collection with a brand new recording of Dixit Dominus set alongside a little know treasure - Agostino Steffani’s Stabat Mater.
Full of virtuosity, vibrant colour and dynamic energy, Handel’s Dixit Dominus captures absolutely the Italian style of the period. Handel’s control of forces is masterly and the range of texture and style is breathtaking. Written during the composer’s time in Italy in the early eighteenth century it is amongst his first autographed works and also one of his finest.
By comparison Agostino Steffani’s little known Stabat Mater was one of his last compositions. Written for the Academy of Vocal Music in London, this work is the most powerful expression of Steffani’s religious fervour and, outside opera, his largest, most varied and most heartfelt composition.
“For most listeners, the surprise package here will be Steffani’s Stabat Mater… This work … is his final masterpiece. Its flavour is sober and devout, but it’s also deeply felt, the textures rich, the writing both sonorous and sensitive. The Sixteen perform it eloquently. With a few more string players added, they also combine precision and maximum excitement in the precocious, thrilling brilliance of Handel’s Dixit Dominus … “
“This is the second recording The Sixteen have made of Handel’s Dixit Dominus. Christophers’ view of this precocious masterpiece… has deepened. His reading has plenty of dramatic verve and his superb choral forces are allowed off their collective leash to telling theatrical effect.
Coupling the Handel is Steffani’s little-known Stabat Mater, for which, if anything, Christophers extracts an even finer performance from his forces, one full of sincerity.