Monica Piccinini, Lia Serafini, Anna Simboli (soprano), Elena Biscuola, Gabriella Martellacci (contralto), Maurizio Dalena, Raffaele Giordani (tenor), Matteo Bellotto, Marco Scavazza (bass), Ugo di Giovanni, Franco Pavan (theorbos) & Francesco Moi (organ)
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The renowned combination of conductor Rinaldo Alessandrini and Concerto Italiano recently released a critically acclaimed disc of motets by the Italian renaissance composer Alessandro Melani (OP30431). Their new CD of sacred choral music features the first recording of Melani’s Salve Regina, as well as settings by Monteverdi, Bencini, Alessandro Scarlatti, Soler, Carissimi, and Stravinsky.
Melani’s ‘Salve Regina’, which has been transcribed from a manuscript held in the archives of the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, was part of the repertory of the private chapel founded by the Borghese family in 1615, of which Melani was director of music from 1672 until the year of his death. The ‘Salve Regina’ of Alessandro Scarlatti was written in Rome in 1703 and probably performed at the basilica of San Lorenzo in Damaso, an annexe of the Palazzo della Cancelleria. Claudio Monteverdi’s ‘Litanie della Beata Vergine’ form part of the edition of the Mass for four voices and Psalms published in Venice in 1650 after the composer’s death. Two of the three Magnificat settings presented on this disc were composed in Rome over a period of almost a century. The first is by Giacomo Carissimi who taught at the Jesuit Collegio Germanico-Ungarico of Rome and was maestro di cappella of the basilica of Sant’Apollinare. Pier Paulo Bencini’s Magnificat was written around 1745 whilst he was director of the Cappella Giulia at St Peter’s. The Spanish composer Antonio Soler composed his setting in 1770. Igor Stravinsky set the first version of his Ave Maria to a Russian text in 1934, but the version in Latin presented here dates from 1949.
Under Rinaldo Alessandrini’s directorship, Concerto Italiano’s revelatory interpretations have revolutionised our perception of 17th and 18th century Italian music. The group’s groundbreaking recordings of Monteverdi’s madrigals have achieved benchmark status, and established it as the finest ensemble of its kind in Italy today.
Claudio Monteverdi: Laetaniae della Beata Vergine, SV 204
Laetaniae della Beata Vergine
Pietro Paolo Bencini: Magnificat
Quia fecit mihi magna
Et misericordia ejus
Fecit potentiam: Cantabile
Sicut locutus est
Alessandro Melani: Salve Regina
Antonio Soler: Magnificat
Magnificat: Largo majestuoso
Et exultavit: Andante
Et misericordia: Largo
Fecit potentiam: Andante
Gloria Patri: Largo
Sicut erat: Andante
Alessandro Scarlatti: Salve regina
Giacomo Carissimi: Magnificat
Igor Stravinsky: Ave Maria
“what ultimately makes these disparate stylistic strands meld so effectively together is the loving care and sense of unity Alessandrini himself brings to these performances. They are poised, elegant and generously spaced and, with the excellent voices of Concerto Italiano as well as a very warm and atmospheric recording from Naive, this disc may not quite fulfil some expectations, but it more than compensates by offering up many profoundly rewarding musical surprises.”
26th June 2011
“Scarlatti’s superb Salve Regina setting is full of crunching, expressive harmonies; Alessandro Melani’s setting of the same text is effectively arrayed for solo soprano and eight-part choir.”
Click on any of the works listed above for alternative recordings.