Messa a Grande Orchestra per quattro voci; Requiem breve
Annarita Di Giovine Ardito, soprano; Angela Bonfitto, mezzosoprano; Vincenzo Di Donato, tenor; Matteo d’Apolito, bass
Orchestra e coro Cappella Musicale Iconavetere
Agostino Ruscillo, chorus master and conductor
This recording is dedicated to Saverio Mercadante’s underrated sacred music. It offers the world premiere recording of the Messa a grande orchestra (Mass for great orchestra) and the Requiem breve. The Mass was performed in Foggia on August 15th, 1828, during the celebrations for the Vergine SS.ma dell’Icona Vetere, and requires four soloists, chorus and orchestra and reveals Italian influences as well as some mozartian inspiration. As for the Requiem, which dates back to 1836, it is entirely sung a cappella by the choir. The modern transcription of the Mass is by Agostino Ruscillo, who conducts also the Cappella Musicale Iconavetere orchestra and chorus.
The singers do not always do justice to this music. Soprano Annarita Di Giovine Ardito, who has the widest part, does not lack charisma, but her voice is not particularly impressive and trembles, while mezzo-soprano Angela Bonfitto is somehow intimidated and this prevents her to shine. The tenor Vincenzo Di Donato has a trifling, negligible voice, while the bass Matteo d’Apolito, who would seem the most interesting element of the four soloists, has a short part and I cannot judge him equitably.
The orchestra and choir Cappella Musicale Iconavetere deserve a better treatment, since they are the true value of the recording. If the orchestra is made up of magnificent virtuosos, the chorus is absolutely beautiful and has the opportunity to fully emerge for impressivenes and skill in the Requiem breve, which fortunately was included in the tracklist. It is primarily for this reason that I hope that this recording finds a bit of consideration.