Matthew White / Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann

Giacomo Carissimi: Oratorios

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Giacomo Carissimi: Oratorios Review

by James Manheim

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.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time Stream
Jonas
1 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 02:34 Amazon
2 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 03:25 Amazon
3 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 03:28 Amazon
4 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 00:55 Amazon
5 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 05:28 Amazon
6 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 00:54 Amazon
7 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 02:20 Amazon
Jephte
8 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 07:51 Amazon
9 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 05:45 Amazon
10 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 04:41 Amazon
11 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 04:49 Amazon
Ezechia
12 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 03:13 Amazon
13 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 04:38 Amazon
14 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 02:32 Amazon
15 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 01:24 Amazon
16 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 02:51 Amazon
Job
17 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 02:17 Amazon
18 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 04:51 Amazon
19 Les Voix Baroques / Alexander Weimann / Matthew White 03:06 Amazon
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