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8.553318 - Lamenti Barocchi, Vol. 1
Claudio Monteverdi (1567 - 1643)
Giovanni Felice Sances (1600 - 1679)
Luigi Rossi (1598 - 1653)
Barbara Strozzi (1619 - 1664)
The Lamentations of the Prophet Jeremiah form part of the traditional liturgy in Holy Week, the texts of the Lessons of the First Nocturn on Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.
Each verse begins with a Hebrew letter, preserved in the Latin liturgy, Aleph, Beth, Ghimel, Daleth and He, and words are added from the Prophet Hosea at the end of the verse. The chant for the Lamentations was established by the Council of Trent, the tonus lamentationum.
The Lament itself has an ancient tradition as a literary and dramatic form, and hence as a musical entity .The most influential and effective of all Baroque musical laments was Monteverdi's Lamento d' Arianna (Lament of Ariadne), the only surviving part of his opera Arianna, with a libretto by Ottavio Rinuccini, written for and performed in Mantua in 1608, the year after Orfeo. Ariadne, daughter of King Minos of Crete, helps the Athenian Theseus escape from the labyrinth and the minotaur to which he and his companions were to be sacrificed. Sailing homeward, Theseus abandons Ariadne on the seemingly deserted island of Naxos, and her lament, given literary expression by Ovid, expresses her feelings at this desertion. It will be recalled that Ariadne subsequently found consolation with Bacchus and his followers, while the return to Athens I of Theseus was not without its own untoward outcome, when a signal intended to assure his father of his safe return was mistaken, leading the father of Theseus to kill himself. Monteverdi arranged the Lament as a madrigal in 1614 and in 1640 restored it to its original monodic form, this time with a Latin sacred text, including it in his volume of madrigals, Selva morale e spirituale. By this time the lament of Arianna had been much imitated.
Giovanni Felice Sances was born in Rome about the year 1600 and spent the earlier part of his career in Italy. After training at the Jesuit Collegio Germanico he entered the service of Cardinal Montalto and subsequently was indebted to the patronage of Pio Enea degli Obizi. In 1636 he entered the service of the Emperor Ferdinand III and settled in Vienna, where, in 1649, he was appointed assistant Imperial Kapellmeister, succeeding to the position of Kapellmeister twenty years later and retaining that position until his death in 1679. The cantata Usurpator tiranno was part of the collection of cantatas published in Venice in 1633. The musical tradition of the lament, built on a ground bass tetrachord, the passacaglia of the title, is followed in w hat is regarded as one of the finest of Sance's cantatas.
Luigi Rossi was born in Torremaggiore about the year 1597 and studied music with Giovanni de Macque, maestro di cappella in Naples, where he remained for some years in the service of the court. A surviving manuscript written by Rossi includes instrumental pieces by Giovanni de Macque and Monteverdi's Lamento d'Arianna, a work that was extensively circulated in manuscript. Later Rossi moved to Rome in the service of the Borghese family and became organist at the church of S Luigi dei Francesi there in 1633, holding the position until his death twenty years later, with periods of absence from time to time. In 1641 he joined the musical establishment of Cardinal Antonio Barberini, for whom, in 1642, he w rote his first opera, Il palazzo incantato. He w rote a second opera, Orfeo during a visit to the French court, in the period of the Barberinis' exile there, and this too was greeted with general ac claim. He seems to have returned to Italy shortly before his death in Rome in 1653.
Rossi was among the most distinguished composers of his day, much admired for his many cantatas, of which some three hundred survive. Here, and in his operas, he developed a new lyricism, with his blend of recitative, arioso and aria. His compositions include seventeen laments. The Lamento di Mustafà e Bajazet allows the two brothers of the Ottoman Sultan Murat to lament their own approaching death on the orders of their brother, a subject familiar enough to contemporary audiences, while Hor ch'in notturna pace is a more conventional lover's complaint.
Barbara strozzi was the adopted daughter of the poet and playwright Giulio strozzi, himself the illegitimate son of the Venice banker Roberto strozzi, scion of the Florentine family of that name. Barbara strozzi was born in Venice in 1619 and was a pupil of Cavalli. She won a reputation as a singer and as a composer and was an important feature of the meetings of the Accademia degli Unisoni at Giulio strozzi's house. Enemies of the strozzi circle accused Giulio strozzi of acting as a pimp for his adopted daughter and regretted Monteverdi's occasional connection with the Accademia degli Unisoni. She was, nevertheless, a composer of some ability , while Giulio strozzi was himself important as a librettist for Monteverdi and others. Barbara strozzi died in 1664. Something of the attraction of her performance may be measured by the nature of her setting of Le tre Grazie a Venere.
Soloists of the Cappella Musicale di San Petronio
[l] Michel van Goethem, alto
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