About this Recording
8.554715 - CALDARA: Missa Dolorosa / Stabat Mater / Sinfonias in G and E Minor
English  Swedish 

Antonio Caldara (c.1670-1736)

Stabat Mater • Missa Dolorosa

In May 1716 Antonio Caldara left Rome and his post as Maestro di cappella to the Prince Francesco Maria Ruspoli to become Vizekapellmeister at the imperial court of Charles VI in Vienna. It was the climax of a career that had seen Caldara move from his native Venice initially to the Gonzaga court at Mantua and then on to Ruspoli's palazzo in Rome.

Caldara's first appointment, as Maestro to Ferdinando Carlo, Duke of Mantua, in the summer of 1699 had followed a decade of freelance activity as a composer and cellist - itself a period that emerged from his years of training, some, allegedly, with Giovanni Legrenzi. Unfortunately, his employment at Mantua was blighted by the wars of the Spanish Succession which saw the court more often absent than resident in its home state, and it ended unceremoniously during the Duke's final exile in Venice in 1707.

There followed an eventful eighteen months. Rome, Barcelona and Venice all welcomed Caldara and his music before he took up his position with Ruspoli in mid-1709. This offered a secure haven, politically, financially and artistically; Caldara was absent only once. In 1711 a quest for an imperial appointment ended in disappointment in Vienna and he returned to his tolerant patron midway through 1712. Paradoxically, four years later, correspondence secured the long-sought position when the death of the Kapellmeister Marc'Antonio Ziani in January 1715 brought a reshuffling of personnel at the Viennese court.

Caldara honed his musical skills with each position. Opera and oratorio were his main concerns in Venice, although his efforts in smaller forms gave rise to two sets of trio sonatas, published in 1693 (Op. 1) and 1699 (Op. 3), and a volume of cantatas (Op. 2), also printed in 1699. Operas dominated Caldara's Mantuan years, reflecting the pleasure­-loving Duke's great passion. A few surviving pieces of church music in ceremonial vein hint at widening horizons. Ruspoli's demands, however, centred on, the conversazioni held in his palace each Sunday morning throughout much of the year. These gatherings of the Roman literati and secular and clerical dignitaries showcased the talents of his musical ensemble and his maestro. The cantata was the favoured medium and within seven years Caldara had produced some 200 works.

Yet these experiences, individually or together, could scarcely have prepared Caldara for Vienna. An array of instrumental and vocal resources, lavish and talented as befitted the pre-eminent musical establishment of late-baroque Europe, awaited him, as did the challenge of an extremely onerous and complex annual round of duties.

The court operated a remarkably full calendar and observed a strict protocol. The liturgical seasons and feasts as well as the saints' days were commemorated with music befitting their status. There were lengthy and brilliant Missae solemnes for the high feasts, more slender Missae mediocre for the lesser feast days and chaste da cappella settings for Advent and Lent. New music usually marked the secular Galatäge, the birth - and namedays of members of the imperial house. An annual carnival opera was required; four new oratorios graced each Lenten season. Caldara's record tells its own story - 23 oratorios, 32 operas, numerous feste da camera and serenatas, more than 100 Masses, scores of psalms, antiphons and offertoriae, all written within twenty years.

The compositions on this recording belong to the Viennese court's observance of Lent and Holy Week, although they do not all come from the same year. The oratorio Gioseffo che interpreta i sogni (‘Joseph interprets the Dreams’) was performed in the Hofkapelle in 1726; Sant'Elena al Calvario (‘St Helen at Calvary’) in 1731. An opera or oratorio overture (Introduzione) might well be recycled as a stand alone 'Sinfonia' or 'Sonata'; modification of the original was another matter, however. Both our 'Sinfonias' have sprouted additions - and their authorship is in question. In Gioseffo the new Minuet conclusion avoids the original slow-tempo close which had led into the first vocal number of the oratorio; the concluding slow-fast pair of movements attached to Sant'Elena converts the two-movement original into a balanced, and more practical, four-movement cycle.

The Stabat Mater had its place as the Sequence at Compline on the four Saturdays in Lent. On these occasions court protocol required extended settings of the medieval text - an opportunity Caldara appears to have welcomed. Just under half of the twenty verses are set individually; verses 2-4 are combined, as are verses 5-10 and 16-17, into larger units. In the resulting twelve-movement structure the choral movements (I, IV, VI, VIII and XI/XII) act as pillars linked by arching episodes for the soloists. These episodes are gorgeously coloured whether by differing combinations of the voices, by varied accompanying instruments or by diverse textures. The choral movements are more severe. Instruments strictly double the vocal lines; textures, both homophonic and imitative, are suffused with chromaticisms; note especially the tormented Fac me tecum (VI), arguably the emotional climax of the work. Only in the concluding movement (XII) does Caldara allow himself space for contrapuntal writing. The double fugue is really a coda - the confident rising figure at Paradisi gloria quells the despairing morietur which closed the previous movement; its technical mastery and great length is a vision of the safe and everlasting haven of the soul.

In 1727 Pope Benedict XIII instituted the feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Virgin Mary (Festum Septem Dolorum Beatae Mariae Virginis) to be celebrated on the Friday between Passion Sunday and Palm Sunday. On 5th February 1735 Caldara completed a Missa a 4 Voci concertata con V.V. [violini] adding 'Dolorosa' alongside the title. To all intents this was a Mass written especially for the new feast day, and with Easter falling late in 1735 there was good time for the vocal and instrumental parts to be copied and rehearsals begun.

This extended setting has all the hallmarks of Caldara's late sty1e. The concluding fugues of the Gloria and Credo as well as the Kyrie II (returning as the Dona nobis pacem) display his rich and seemingly effortless counterpoint. His expressive melodic style permeates the vocal writing and instrumental obbligatos in the duets (Christe eleison; Gloria: Domine Fili - note the solo bassoon - and Quoniam; and Benedictus) and the one solo movement (Gloria: 'Domine Deus'). His sense of structure, more obvious in 'the ritornello-based closed forms of the solo and duet numbers, is just as secure in those ongoing sections where phrase after phrase of text is held together by recurrent motives in the accompaniment or by a moto perpetuo instrumental line (Credo: Et resurrexit). From the opening Kyrie his intermingling of solo ensemble with chorus has emotional impact. But most masterly of all, perhaps, are his inspired harmonic touches that illumine the Qui tollis (Gloria) and the Et incarnatus and 'Crucifixus' (Credo).

Brian W. Pritchard

Antonio Caldara (c.1670-1736)

Stabat Mater • Missa Dolorosa

Stabat Mater



Stabat mater dolorosa,

Juxta crucem lacrimosa

Dum pendebat Filius.

At the cross her station keeping

Stood the mournful mother weeping,

Close to Jesus at the last.



Cujus animam gementem,

Constristatem et dolentem,

Pertransivit gladius.

O quam tristis et afflicta

Fuit illa benedicta

Mater unigeniti!

Quae moerebat et dolebat,

Pia mater, dum videbat

Nati poenas inclyti.

Through her heart, his sorrow sharing,

All his bitter anguish bearing,

Now at length the sword had passed.

Oh, how sad and sore distressed

Was that mother highly blessed

Of the sole-begotten one!

Christ above in torment hangs;

She beneath beholds the pangs

Of her dying glorious Son.



Quis est homo, qui non fleret,

Matrem Christi si videret

In tanto supplicio

Quis non posset contristari,

Christi Matrem contemplari

Dolentem cum Filio?

Pro peccatis suae gentis

Vidit Jesum in tormentis

Et flagellis subditum.

Vidit suum dulcem Natum

Moriendo desolatum,

Dum emisit spiritum.

Eiat Mater, fons amoris,

Me sentire vim doloris,

Fac, ut tecum lugeam.

Fac, ut ardeat cor meum

In amando Christum Deum,

Ut sibi complaceam.

Is there one who would hot weep,

Whelmed in miseries so deep

Christ's dear mother to behold?

Can the human heart refrain

From partaking in her pain,

In that mother's pain untold?

Bruised, derided, cursed, defiled,

She beheld her tender Child

All with bloody scourges rent.

For the sins of his own nation,

Saw him hang in desolation,

'Til his spirit forth he sent.

O thou mother! fount of love!

Touch my spirit from above,

Make my heart with thine accord.

Make me feel as thou has felt;

Make my soul to glow and melt

With the love of Christ my Lord.



Sancta mater, istud agas,

Crucifixi fige plagas

Cordi meo valide.

Holy mother! pierce me through:

In my heart each wound renew

Of my Saviour crucified.



Tui nati vulnerati,

Tam dignati pro me pati,

Poenas mecum divide.

Let me share with thee his pain,

Who for all my sins was slain,

Who for me in torments died.



Fac me tecum pie flere,

Crucifixo condolere.

Donec ego vixero.

Let me mingle tears with thee,

Mourning him who mourned for me,

All the days that I may live.



Juxta crucem tecum stare,

Et me tibi sociare

In planctu desidero.

By the Cross with thee to stay;

There with thee to weep and pray:

Is all I ask of thee to give.



Virgo virginum praeclara,

Mihi jam non sis amara,

Fac me tecum plangere.

Virgin of all virgins best!

Listen to my fond request:

Let me share thy grief divine.



Fac, ut portem Christi mortem,

Passionis fac consortem,

Et plagas recolere.

Fac me plagis vulnerari

Fac me cruce inebriari

Et cruore Filii.

Let me, to my latest breath,

In my body bear the death

Of that dying Son of thine.

Wounded with his every wound,

Steep my soul 'til it hath swooned

In his very blood away.



Flammis ne urar succensus,

Per te, Virgo, sim defensus,

In die judicii.

Be to me, O virgin, nigh,

Lest in flames I burn and die,

In his awful Judgement day.



Christe, cum sit hinc exire,

Da per matrem me venire

Ad palmam victoriae.

Quando corpus morietur

Christ, when thou shalt call me hence,

Be thy mother my defence,

Be thy Cross my victory.

While my body here decays,



Fac ut animae donetur

Paradisi gloria.


May my soul thy goodness praise,

Safe in Paradise with thee.


Missa Dolorsa


Kyrie eleison.

Christe eleison.

Kyrie eleison.

Lord have mercy.

Christ have mercy.

Lord have mercy.


Gloria in excelsis Deo,

et in terra pax hominibus

bonae voluntatis.

Laudamus te; benedicimus te;

adoramus te; glorificamus te;

gratias agimus tibi

propter magnam gloriam tuam.

Domine Deus, rex caelestis,

Deus pater omnipotens,

Domine fili unigenite, Jesu Christe;

Domine Deus, agnus Dei, filius patris.

Qui tollis peccata mundi,

miserere nobis;

qui tollis peccata mundi,

suscipe deprecationem nostram;

qui sedes ad dexteram patris,

miserere nobis.

Quoniam tu solus sanctus,

tu solus Dominus,

tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe,

cum sancto spiritu

in gloria Dei patris. Amen.

Glory to God in the highest,

and on earth peace

to those of goodwill

We praise you; we bless you;

we worship you; we glorify you;

we give thanks to you

for your great glory.

Lord God, heavenly king,

God the father almighty,

O Lord the only son, Jesus Christ;

O Lord God, lamb of God, son of the father,

You take away the sins of the world,

have mercy on us;

you take away the sins of the world,

receive our prayer;

you sit at the right hand of the father,

have mercy on us.

For you alone are holy,

you alone are the Lord,

you alone are the highest, Jesus Christ,

with the holy spirit

in the glory of God the father. Amen.


Credo in unum Deum,

patrem onmipotentem,

factorem caeli et terrae,

visibilium omnium et invisibilium;

et in unum Dominum

Jesum Chrisfum,

filium Dei unigenitum,

et ex Patre natum ante omnia


Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine,

Deum verum de Deo vero;

genitum non factum,

consubstantialem patri,

per quem omnia facta sunt;

qui propter nos homines

et propter nostram salutem

descendit de coelis.

Et incarnatus est de spiritu sancto ex Maria virgine,

et homo factus est.

Crucificus etiam pro nobis

sub Pontio Pilato:

passus et sepultus est.

Et resurrexit tertia die

secundum scripturas;

et ascendit in caelum,

sedet ad dexteram patris;

et iterum venturus est cum gloria

judicare vivos et mortuos,

cuius regni non erit finis,

et in spiritum sanctum,

Dominum et vivificantem,

qui ex patre filioque procedit;

qui cum patre et filio

somul adoratur et conglorifactur,

qui locutus est per propheta.

Et unam sanctam catholicam

et apostolicam ecclesiam.

Confiteor unum baptisma

in remissionem peccatorum

et exspecto

resurrectionem mortuorum

et vitam venturi saeculi. Amen

I believe in one God,

the father almighty,

maker of heaven and earth,

in all things visible and invisible;

and in one Lord

Jesus Christ,

only son of God,

and born of the Father eternally.

God of God, light of light,

true God of true God;

begotten not made,

of one substance with the father,

by whom all things were made;

he who for mankind

and for our salvation

descended from heaven.

And was incarnate by the holy spirit

of the virgin Mary

and was made man.

He was crucified even for us

under Pontius Pilate;

he died and was buried.

And he rose again on the third day

according to the scriptures;

and ascended into heaven,

seated at the right hand of the father;

and again he will come with glory

to judge the living and the dead,

whose kingdom will have no end.

And I believe in the holy spirit,

the Lord and giver of life,

who proceeds from the father and the son:

who with the father and the son

is likewise worshipped and glorified,

who has spoken through the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic

and apostolic church.

I acknowledge one baptism

for the remission of sins,

and I look for

the resurrection of the dead

and the life of the world to come. Amen

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus

Dominus Dells Saboath;

pleni sunt caeli et terra gloria tua.

Osanna in excelsis.

Holy, holy, holy

Lord God of Sabaoth;

heaven and earth are full of your glory.

Hosanna in the highest.

Benedictus qui venit

in nomine Domini.

Osanna in excelsis.

Blessed is he who comes

in the name of the Lord.

Hosanna in the highest

Agnus Dei,

qui tollis peccata mundi;

miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei,

qui tollis peccata mundi;

miserere nobis.

Agnus Dei,

qui tollis peccata mundi;

dona no.bis pacem.

Lamb of God,

you take away the sins of the world;

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,

you take away the sins of the world;

have mercy on us.

Lamb of God,

you take away the sills of the world;

grant us peace.

Close the window