Baroque Religious Music
September 25, 2013 3:24 PM   Subscribe

Looking for recommendations for Baroque religious music, especially performances made by kids choirs (adult choirs will do nicely, too). Something like this.

The other day I read an article about artist Janet Cardiff and her soundscaping works. That, in turn reminded me of a classic piece I loved when I was very young: Pergolesi's Stabat Mater. Specificly, it was this particular part, in this particular performance. It is hauntingly beautiful and serene, and the choices made in this performance make it, to me, so much better than any other: namely, it is using a boys choir (and not two singers, as in most performances), and an organ (and not a string section). Could you recommend other classical pieces that'll follow that line? Best if they're available on youtube. Many thanks in advance.
posted by cardamon to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Have you heard Michael Nyman's soundtrack for The Cook, the Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover? It's not baroque, but minimalist, and a lot of people say there's a connection between the two styles. (I happen to like both a lot.) You might like Miserere, which is available on the soundtrack CD without the background clatter.

That Janet Cardiff motet sounds to me a lot more like early/Renaissance polyphony than like typical baroque music. I pulled this Palestrina motet out of thin air on YouTube; I'm sure there's a lot more to explore in that vein.

Lately I've been digging some Purcell and you might, too. Not quite in the same vein as your examples, but mournful and haunting. (If the soloist on the second link is not your thing, you might still like the chorus that follows at 51:18. "Soft, soft and gently" gets me every time.)
posted by Orinda at 10:49 PM on September 25, 2013

This recording of Heinrich Schütz's Kleine Geistliche Konzerte fits the bill with boys' voices and organ. (An imo somewhat better recording with woman singers.)

These pieces of Schütz can be achingly beautiful, but have more drama in them than the Pergolesi, which may not be what you seek.

A composer whose music I find lovely and who wrote religious works closer in technique to Pergolesi than Schütz is André Campra. This seems to be a pretty good recording of his Requiem. (I honestly cannot tell if its a boys choir there; if it isn't, it's women singing in a historical performance style that has a similar aesthetic effect.)
posted by bertran at 3:13 AM on September 26, 2013

I recommend checking out Biber's Mystery/Rosary Sonatas. The Passacaglia at the end is especially outstanding.
posted by General Malaise at 7:48 AM on September 26, 2013

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