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This CD presents world premiere recordings of two works by Pergolesi which date towards the end of the composer’s short life (he died in 1736, aged 26), when he turned his attention to writing sacred music. While his Stabat Mater and Magnificat are relatively well-known, there are other sacred works which, if this CD is anything to go by, are equally fine and deserve hearing. The Mass in D major is limited to the Kyrie and Gloria, as was the practice in the Kingdom of Naples in the 1730s. Structured into a sequence of set pieces, as so many composers would do later in the 18th century, Pergolesi’s Mass is a most attractive work. Backed by the musicological work of Milan’s Centro Studi Pergolesi, Giulio Prandi and his excellent forces offer a stylish reading of this unfamiliar music, with crisp string playing, a lively choral sound and excellent soloists. They are equally effective in the Marian motet Dignes laudes resonemus, which structurally resembles the more familiar Stabat Mater. Scored for double five-voice chorus and a double string orchestra, oboes and a pair of trumpets, it is an impressive work. Worth investigating.

PHILIP REED Read the full review on Agora Classica

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