Presentation of the new CD
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi- STABAT MATER
Alessandro Stradella -PIETA SIGNORE
Antonio Vivaldi- STABAT MATER
I laid hands on Pergolesis Stabat Mater for the first time when together with the soprano Inga Kalna I was going to sing it in the Rīga Reformers Church. But only now, after having performed it in the capacity of a singer and a conductor for many years, I have come closer to the understanding of its underlying story, which is infinitely noble both in music and the text.
The most strange thing concerns the text Jakopo Benedettis text on the basis of the revelations experienced by the 14th century monk Jakopone da Todi about the small, but very essential episode in the Bible when the Blessed Virgin Mary suffers for the death of her son Jesus Christ on the cross is tinged with a personal lamento. And especially curious and aesthetically charged is Passion with both the Italian masters.
In the course of time my Stabat Mater by Pergolesi was enriched by those by Vivaldi, Bokerini and Scarlatti (a composer, who was the first to combine alto, soprano and the strings).
The style of these composers works, irrespective of differences in the ensemble composition and various time periods of their creation and first performance, are similar in their range and depth of emotions. It seems that any of them had been familiar with his predecessors compositions and had received inspiration from the source of eternal love from above.
Recorded in the album Stabat Mater by Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741), RV 621 (solo for alto, two violins, viola and basso continuo) was composed in 1711 when Vivaldi himself was 33. It was performed for the first time with his father, the violinist Pietro Alessandro participating, in the town of Brescia on 18 March 1712, on the day of the Seven Sorrows of Our Lady.
Lamenting this dolorous story forms as if an infinite circle of sorrow as Parts 1, 2 and 3 are repeated and Part 7 Eja Mater fons amoris creates associations with water (blood) dripping it is only for the strings, and alto is used as the bass instrument. Following tradition the final part is a fast polyphonic Amen.
It is known that Vivaldi worked as music master and violin tutor for many years at the Ospedale della Pietà in Venice, an orphanage and music school for girls. Music he composed there was written expressly for women as it was performed only by the girls themselves playing in the orchestra, singing in the choir and performing solo, thus it is not excluded that the castrato part had been performed by an alto singer.
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) composed his Stabat Mater (soprano, alto, two violins, viola and basso continuo) as a requiem for himself, in this differing from Vivaldi. This composition, the last work of the composer who died prematurely at the age of 26, was created in 1736 in the Franciscan monastery in Pozzuoli near Naples where the composer lived, cherishing hopes to be treated for tuberculosis.
The composition was planned to be performed in the church Santa Maria dei Sette Dolori in Naples where Alessandro Scarlattis Stabat Mater had been performed for the first time.
Both the solo parts were written for castratos as the Naples Conservatorio dei Poveri di Gesu Christo where Pergolesi had studied and worked himself was famous for the castratos trained there (among its graduates was Cafarelli who used to be prima donna in Pergolesis operas before he left for England. It is evidenced by the virtuoso, operatic style of the vocal parts.)
Pergolesis Stabat Mater is introduced by the frequently applied in the Baroque period motif of the cross in the strings, taken over by the singers representing Mary at the Cross.
Many duets are enriched with solo arias, creating up to then an unknown type of ecclesiastical cantata where it is already difficult to draw a borderline between the secular (operatic) and church music. The duet Fac ut ardea, written as a double fugue, is especially impressive. Many parts, permeated with deep emotions, end with a polyphonic (presto assai) Amen.
The faculties of Vivaldi and Pergolesi as violin virtuosos have left an impact upon their compositions, where it wonderfully entwines with deeply felt vocal parts and the message of the text.
The album also includes one of the most famous compositions Pietà Signore by the Italian composer Alessandro Stradella (1644-1682). Though the lifetime of Stradella was the 17th century, as to his improvisations and compositions he belongs already to the 18th century.
Nature endowed, the singers voice has an unusually warm timbre. With years it has got more dramatic, however, retaining its heartfelt sincerity and ability of soaring.
Inessa Galante was born in Riga. She graduated from the Latvian Academy of Music (the vocal class of professor Ludmila Braun).
Since 1982 till 1991 she was a soloist of the Latvian National Opera. During this period she appeared as the Snow Maiden, Lucia, Gilda, Marguerite, Adina, Violetta, Rosina, Micaela
In 1991 Inessa Galante moved to Germany, where she lives now. Till 1999 she was a soloist of the Manheim opera theatre, and the Deutsche Opera am Rhein in Düsseldorf.
She performs on the greatest opera stages of Germany, France, USA and Israel. She is invited to sing in the most prestigious concert halls of Switzerland, Belgium, Luxemburg, Australia, South Korea, France and Holland. Frequently she sings in such famous London venues as the Barbican Hall, the Wigmore Hall and the Royal Albert Hall. In 2001 she gave a charity solo concert at the Royal Family invitation in the Kensington Palace. Her appearances on the Sweden Royal Opera stage are to be mentioned.
The singer has a vast opera and chamber music repertoire. The characters of Puccinis and Verdis operas (Mimi, Violetta, Liu, Gilda, Leonora, Butterfly, Manon Lescaut) are among her favourites.
Since 1989 Inessa Galante is a star of CAMPION RECORDS, having 9 CDs under this label (she was also awarded Gold, then Platinum discs for the continuing sales of her CD Debut, released in 1995). The disc Arietta was recognized by BBC to be the best in the nomination of classical music (2000). The disc of opera arias by Tchaikovsky (BMG, the Royal Opera orchestra, conductor Neeme Järvi) was considered to be exceptionally brilliant, marking out the Scene of Tatyanas letter as the best interpretation of recent 20 years. The disc Arias from Verdis late operas won the GRAMOPHONE magazine editor choice (October, 2003). Worldwide sales of all CDs featuring Galante have exceeded 200,000.
Inessa Galante has cooperated with such famous conductors as Yehudi Menuhin, Kent Nagano, Myung-Whun Chung, Valery Gergiev, Antonio Pappano, Steven Mercurio, Miguel Gomez-Martinez, Vladimir Fedoseyev, Neeme Järvi, Eri Klas, Vassily Sinaisky etc.
The singer bears the Order of the Three Stars, she was awarded the Latvia Grand Prix in music as well.
Sergejs Jēgers studied at Rīga Music Boarding School, in 2003 received BA from Jāzeps Vītols Latvia Academy of Music and in 2005, after studying in the class of professor Kārlis Zariņš and lecturer Andris Veismanis, he received his MA there. He has perfected his singing in Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Switzerland with professor Andreas Scholl and master classes of professor Robert Expert in France.
He has worked as music teacher in the day-care centre Saule (1997-1999) and the childrens home Vita (1996-2005).
Sergejs Jēgers started his singers career in the performances staged at the Academy of Music Opera Studio Figaro in 2000. Since 2001 he gives concerts regularly in Rīga and other places in Latvia.
In 2003 he made his debut in the role of the Angel in Rubinsteins opera The Demon at the Latvian National Opera, enrapturing the audience not only in Rīga, but also during the Opera guest performances in the Savonlinna Opera Festival in Finland (2004). He has also performed the roles of Orpheus (Glucks Orpheus and Eurydice), Rinaldo (Handels Rinaldo) and Ruggiero (Handels Alcina).
Sergejs Jēgers has participated in performances of large pieces, among them Handels Messiah, Vivaldis Gloria, Stabat Mater and the cantata Cessate, o mai cessate, O mie porpore piu belle, Nisi Dominus, Pergolesis Stabat Mater, Bachs Marks Passion and Cantata No 170, Purcells Ode to St. Cecilia a.o.
He has given concerts in Poland, Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Germany, Britain, New Caledonia and other places as well.
In 2005 Sergejs Jēgers was the only countertenor among 25 finalists at the prestigious BBC competition Cardiff Singer of the World 2005.
In 2006 the publishers Upe tuviem and tāliem released his first solo album Ave Musica, but in 2007 the album Duende, in this recording he performs together with the saxophonist Artis Gāga. While working on the album, in the studio Lokomotīve a documentary was shot about him (director Dāvis Sīmanis), as well as the video clip Panis Angelicus (director Una Rozenbauma).
Andris Veismanis was born in 1965, studied choral conducting at Jāzeps Vītols Latvia Academy of Music, class of Imants Kokars; received MA (cum laude) in 1995; the graduation piece was Bachs St. John Passion at the Rīga Dom Cathedral.
Winner at the International Jāzeps Vītols competition for choir conductors in 1988.
Studied symphony conducting with professor Yuri Simonov in Moscow and Budapest. Specialized in ancient music, studying with the harpsichordist and conductor William Christie in Rīga and Paris.
Andris Veismanis was twice awarded the Latvia Grand Prix in Music in 1993 for the performance of Purcells opera Dido and Aenas and in 1998 for Handels Alcina. In 1994 in Budapest he was awarded Grand Prix for conducting music by Listz.
He has performed in Taiwan, South America, USA, Canada, Russia and several countries of Europe.
Andris Veismanis is an expert of music of baroque and classicism. Among his achievements there stand out the performance of Purcells operas Dido and Aenas and The Fairy Queen, Handels Alcina and Acis and Galatea, Glucks Orpheus and Eurydice, The Birds Opera by Jānis Lūsens, Benjamin Britens The Turn of the Screw, Maurice Ravels The Child and The Spells, Gian Carlo Menotti Amal and The Night Visitors.
At present Andris Veismanis is a conductor at the Latvian National Opera and of the Latvian National Symphony Orchestra; he is artistic director of the Vidzeme chamber music orchestra and works in the Conducting Department at Latvia Academy of Music. He performs regularly baroque music in the churches of Latvia, participates in Antique Music festivals and projects of the Latvian National Opera where several performances have been staged under his guidance in its New Hall.