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Cantatas & Motets by Giacomo CarissimiConcerto Delle Donne
Signum Records is delighted to announce that the ensemble Concerto delle Donne will release their first disc on Signum Records in 2003. The disc will feature the cantatas and motets of Giacomo Carissimi.
Carissimi is sometimes thought of as a "one-work composer" known to the average music-lover only for his oratorio Jephte. Choral Societies looking for 17th century music earlier than Purcell are therefore likely to choose Jephte.
Alastair Ross first became interested in Carissimi’s music for the 3-soprano Concerto delle Donne line-up when he was asked to prepare a programme “Handel and his predecessors in Italy” for the 1977 Göttingen Festival. A review of Carissimi's oeuvre showed that there were several pieces by Carissimi in the library of Christ Church Oxford just waiting to be performed by the group! He chose the cantata Siam tre miseri piangenti which has become a regular item in their concerts and which is central to this recording. It’s a marvellous piece, full of pain, suffering and anger. The three voices really are equal in the way they intertwine and react to one another. Donna Deam’s solo Piangete and Gill Ross' and Elin Thomas’s duet Ahi, non torna are similar in mood. Maybe in our cynical 21st century we find it difficult to relate to these highly emotional, self-obsessed, texts, but there’s no denying that they inspired some wonderful music! Va dimanda al mio pensiero’ and Si dia bando, alla speranza are lighter in mood – both attractive, tuneful pieces.
There is plenty of variety in the church music as well. Cum reverteretur David, which begins the CD, is brilliant and virtuosic, a dramatic account of the rivalry between David and Saul. The duet Exulta, gaude, filia Sion is a joyful celebration of Christmas. In Benedictus Deus et Pater the voices weave rich dissonances to convey the suffering of the text; there’s something of the mood of Allegri’s Miserere here.
In addition to the vocal pieces the disc includes a set of variations by Frescobaldi and Michelangelo Rossi’s flamboyant and chromatic Toccata Settima for harpsichord, together with Kapspereger’s charming improvisations for chittarone.
We believe that only one of the Carissimi pieces on this CD, Exulta, gaude, filia Sion, has been recorded before, so the disc will be an important event in the recorded-music world, and one which we hope will revive interest in this unjustly neglected composer.
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Concerto Delle Donne
Elin Manahan Thomas
Release date: 19th May 2003
Order code: SIGCD040
|1.||Giacomo Carissimi: Motet Cum reverteretur David||[4:09]|
|2.||Carissimi: Motet Benedictus Deus et Pater||[4:30]|
|3.||Girolamo Frescobaldi: Parte sopra lamonicha||[7:17]|
|4.||Carissimi: Motet Exulta, gaude, filia Sion||[5:07]|
|5.||Giovanni Girolamo Kapsperger: Toccata XI||[2:01]|
|6.||Carissimi: Cantata Va dimanda al mio pensiero||[5:38]|
|7.||Kapsperger: Prelude XI||[0:36]|
|8.||Carissimi: Motet O dulcissimum Mariae nomen||[3:31]|
|9.||Carissimi: Cantata Siam tre miseri piangenti||[8:16]|
|10.||Michelangelo Rossi: Toccata Settima||[4:07]|
|11.||Carissimi: Motet Surrexit pastor bonus||[2:23]|
|12.||Carissimi: Cantata Ahi, non torna||[5:06]|
|13.||Carissimi: Cantata Piangete, ohimè piangete||[5:42]|
|14.||Kapsperger: Prelude X||[0:54]|
|15.||Carissimi: Cantata Si dia bando, alla speranza||[3:47]|
|16.||Carissimi: Motet Omnes gentes gaudete cum victore||[3:39]|
Early Music, November 2004
...A similar selection, also with three high voices, is presented by the British group Concerto delle Donne. In Piangete: Cantatas & Motets by Giancomo Carissimi there are also no changes in the continuo line; however, the chitarrone would seem a more authentic choice for such accompaniments, rather than a bowed string instrument, whose adoption as the sine qua non of continuo scoring did not occur until later in the century. In both these recordings the performance is of a high level, though in the British example Carissimi's music finds some context in expansive preludes by Kapsberger and keyboard works by Frescobaldi and Rossi. This is a valuable way of underlining that Carissimi was not working in isolation as - arguably - the greatest figure of the period, but collaboratively participating in the extensive round of feasts which comprised the Roman liturgical year.