Since last night's broadcast of Carlo Maria Giulini's 1981 earth-shattering Stabat Mater (Rossini), Opera Chic has done a lot of thinking. About how much all music-lovers miss Giulini, about how amazing it is that the same guy who wrote the luminous Barbiere and airy L'Italiana also wrote that apocalyptic Stabat Mater (Opera Chic's fashionably carmine-red blood boils every time she hears the, "Rossini as poor man's Mozart" nonsense, but we'll leave that to another, future post), about next month's Easter vacation in this unpredictable weather (Cortina? Provence? Forte dei Marmi? Antarctica?).
Opera Chic also wondered, which Stabat Mater is the greatest of them all?
Surprise answer: Caldara's.
Yeah, Antonio Caldara, the guy after whom Milanese authorities named an important avenue (waiting at least for a "Caldara Crossing" in the Upper East Side, Mr. Bloomberg!) is also a sadly underrated genius.
Take for example his Stabat Mater, that can wipe teh fl00r with Vivaldi's Magnificat in Sol minore but can also do some serious damage -- in a fistfight -- to the other Stabats (including Pergolesi's!!!).
(The skinny for those who weren't paying attention in their 'History of Teh Music' classes: Antonio "Toto The Genius Of Contrappunto" Caldara, a Venetian, 1670-1738, Legrenzi alumnus (and that ain't bad!), Assistant KappelMeister in Vienna, all-around a quiet bada$$ of a man).
Sadly, way too many unforgiving "Baroque specialists", usually turn the stark beauty of Caldara's work into a punitive snorefest; but there are some gr8 exceptions. There's a b00tleg floating around of Riccardo Muti conducting the Wiener Philharmoniker (check out Muti's Caldara Te Deum as well, it's cool), and if you want to go legit, there's Monteverdi Choir of Budapest founder Eva Kollàr's version (it's here too) for you.