Giacomo Carissimi: Oratorios

Giacomo Carissimi: Oratorios

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by Matthew White
     
 
The oratorios of the 17th century Italian composer Giacomo Carissimi, though distant ancestors of the familiar works of Haydn and Mozart, are quite different in scope and effect. They were church works, for one thing; the Latin oratorios recorded here were composed for Lenten celebrations in a Roman church, for literate

Overview

The oratorios of the 17th century Italian composer Giacomo Carissimi, though distant ancestors of the familiar works of Haydn and Mozart, are quite different in scope and effect. They were church works, for one thing; the Latin oratorios recorded here were composed for Lenten celebrations in a Roman church, for literate worshippers who would have known the texts well and would have been attuned to what the composer was doing with them. Perhaps a good place for the modern listener to start is with the opening "Jonas," which recounts the tale of Jonah's placement in belly of the whale and has as its climax his extended intra-cetaceian prayer. These oratorios are short -- of Bach cantata length -- with several recitatives or dialogues ("aria" would imply a degree of melodicism that generally isn't present) mixed with choral sections and capped with a chorus that drives home the moral point of the whole. The soloists include a narrator who sets the scene and fills in gaps in the action (or an ensemble can fill the narrative role). The chorus parts here are sung by the soloists themselves, with one voice per part, more defensible in this intimate music than in that of the High Baroque, although one still wonders what the church's choir would have done with itself while this was going on. The soloists involved, all stars of Montreal's early music scene, work effectively as an ensemble and keep the music moving in natural-sounding rhythms. Four oratorios in a row is a lot for the modern listeners, as indeed it would have been for Carissimi's audience. But this is a strong choice for an introduction to one of the major Italian composers of the 17th century. All texts are given in French and English translations, as well as the original Latin.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/23/2010
Label:
Atma Classique
UPC:
0722056262224
catalogNumber:
2622
Rank:
228996

Related Subjects

Tracks

  1. Jonas, oratorio for soloists, 5 voices, 2 violins & continuo  - Giacomo Carissimi  - Suzie LeBlanc  - Sumner Thompson  - Diane Lagacé  - Les Voix Baroques  - Les Voix Baroques  - Josée Lalonde  - Lawrence Wiliford  - Tyler Duncan  - Colin Balzer  - Maria Keohane
  2. Job, oratorio for 3 voices & continuo (doubtful)  - Giacomo Carissimi  - Matthew White  - Diane Lagacé  - Les Voix Baroques  - Tyler Duncan  - Maria Keohane
  3. Ezechia, oratorio for 5 voices, 2 violins & continuo  - Giacomo Carissimi  - Sumner Thompson  - Catherine Webster  - Matthew White  - Diane Lagacé  - Les Voix Baroques  - Les Voix Baroques  - Colin Balzer  - Maria Keohane
  4. Jephte, oratorio for 6 voices & continuo  - Giacomo Carissimi  - Suzie LeBlanc  - Catherine Webster  - Matthew White  - Diane Lagacé  - Les Voix Baroques  - Les Voix Baroques  - Lawrence Wiliford  - Tyler Duncan  - Maria Keohane

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Giacomo Carissimi: Oratorios 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Vocal group Les Voix Baroques is an early music ensemble that specializes in performing music from the Renaissance and Baroque eras. Their most recent release is a cd of oratorios on the ATMA Classique label of one the most noted composers in this genre, Giacomo Carissimi. Oratorios were first composed during the Counter-Reformation and were religious in nature. They are similar to operas of that time, but the texts used in oratories are sacred in nature and were performed without opera style staging. The oratorios included on this cd are Jonas, Jephte, Ezechia , and Job. The performances by Les Voix Barqoues, led by director Matthew White, are quite beautifully sung. All of the solos are sung with a vocal purity that allows the sacred texts to shine and the same attention is applied to the choruses as well. The blend between the vocalists and instrumentalists is seamless which adds to the overall beauty of the cd. This recording is a first rate example of early music at its finest.