Antonio Caldara

Crucifixus, for chorus & organ

    Description by "Blue" Gene Tyranny

    This beautiful and moving setting in 16-voice parts is by a composer equally influenced by the Venetian and then Viennese styles of the time. A Baroque basso continuo lays a firm foundation for the work, allowing great contrapuntal movement in the higher voices. This was what evolved of the "prima prattica" old style by the late Baroque, the old polyphony was mixed with the new harmonic and other expressive compositional devices. Because Caldara sets several phrases of the text simultaneously, he gives each phrase a different musical gesture that allows the whole to be heard clearly: "crucifixus" (he was crucified) is stated in equal value notes of long duration, "etiam pro nobis" (also for us) is given as a counterpoint line in a faster, trumpet-call rhythm against "crucifixus", "sub Pontio Pilato" (under Pontius Pilate) has a dotted-value skipping rhythm, "passus" (he died) has long notes, "et sepultus est" (and was buried) has either descending dotted-value notes or uses the notes of a common triad in bold declamation. Beautiful non-chordal suspensions draw out the emotional tension of the body of the work. A remarkable and unusual succession of dominant seventh chords is reached toward the end, appearing naturally (and skillfully) from the previous counterpoint, creating the sensation of a magnificent yet unresolved journey. Suddenly there is a grand pause. Then the work concludes with an extended yet peaceful cadence. An excellent introduction to Caldara's work, which should be followed by listening to his brilliant setting of the "Stabat Mater".

    Appears On

    Year Title / Performer Label / Catalog # AllMusic Rating
    COR 16099
    Collins Records
    Collegium Records / Colleguim
    Collins Records
    Linn Records
    Celestial Harmonies