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Cavalli: Magnificat / Gini, La Pifarescha, Coro Claudio Monteverdi Parma

Cavalli / Instrumental Ensemble La Pifarescha
Release Date: 12/08/2009 
Label:  Dynamic   Catalog #: 623  
Composer:  Pier Francesco Cavalli
Conductor:  Bruno Gini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La PifareschaClaudio Monteveri Chorus Parma
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews



CAVALLI Magnificat a 8. Canzona a 10. Laetatus sum. Canzona a 12. Dixit Dominus. Vespero della Beate Vergine : Magnificat a 8. Messa a 4 Voci : Magnificat a 6. Vespero delle Dominiche: Magnificat a 8. Vespero delli Cinque Laudate : Magnificat a 8 Bruno Gini, cond; Claudio Monteverdi Ch; La Pifarescha Read more Ens (period instruments) DYNAMIC 623 (71:48 & )


We tend to consider Francesco Cavalli one of the pivotal figures of Venetian opera during the 17th century. As Monteverdi’s student and successor, he achieved the distinction of being a facile and progressive composer for the stage, but what is perhaps less well known is the fact that he was employed at St. Mark’s cathedral from 1639 onward, first as second organist and subsequently, in 1668, as the maestro di capella . For this institution he wrote in the famed polychoral style, publishing his music already at the very beginning in conjunction with that of his teacher. This series of excerpts taken from various collections dating from between 1650 and 1675 demonstrate both his development of the style first created almost a century earlier and his infusion of new life through his more lyrical style.


The works on this disc are mostly canticles, that is to say, Magnificats, although there are also two canzonas and a Psalm. The rising cornetto line of the Canzona for 10 voices is a brilliant stroke initiating a series of imitative entrances that build on sonorities. The remaining canzona, this time for 12 voices, blends textures of strings, the brass choir, and softer recorders in a large textural variation. The obvious echo effects one finds in late Monteverdi and Giovanni Gabrieli are more muted, with the contrasts sequenced by various entrances of the instruments. In the earliest work, a six-voice Magnificat published in a collection of Monteverdi masses, the initial vocal entrances begin florid lines just at the point where another enters, enhancing the contrapuntal interplay and allowing more freedom of expression. And right in the middle of this timbral contrast comes a chaconne bass line, indicating that his secular music was not far from his mind. By 1675 Cavalli was becoming more homophonic, using waves of choral and instrumental sound to achieve the desired solemn effect. When the soloists enter, such as in the short Magnificat for eight-voices from the collection Cinque Laudate (Five Praises), they almost appear an intrusion into the massive choral texture. In the eight-voice Magnificat from 1656, he even ends with a complex fugue. The hymn Laetatus sum is very much in the vein of Giasone or Callisto , with its interwoven lines and dance-like rhythm. It is hard to imagine any Gabrieli trying to be this elaborate or inventive. In short, these works, from substantial polychoral Magnificats to the more concertato instrumental pieces or the hymn, are great contributions to sacred music at a time when the polychoral style was being replaced by a more homophonic sound.


Dynamic has chosen here to do a special recording instead of the usual live performances. The microphone placement insures that just enough reverberation exists to hint at the venue, a smaller church at Abbadia Cerreto. This makes the acoustics resonant, without being overdone. Indeed, with the solo portions, there is a certain intimacy that complements the music. Of the two choral groups, there are enough musicians to enable the polychoral divisions that make the recording effective. Moreover, the singers and instruments blend well together, so that neither group predominates. This gives the works a nice sound that can rise up out of the general texture or submerge as needed. Conductor Bruno Gini keeps the tempos moving along, not too fast, but avoiding the lugubriousness that sometimes can be found in performances of church music of the period. This in turn allows for a sense of energy that keeps the music interesting. The performers are all adept, with both the singers and instrumentalists sensitive to tuning and phrasing. All in all, this is a praiseworthy disc to be recommended as an anodyne to the sometimes static operas of Cavalli.


FANFARE: Bertil van Boer
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Works on This Recording

1.
Magnificat à 6 by Pier Francesco Cavalli
Conductor:  Bruno Gini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pifarescha,  Claudio Monteveri Chorus Parma
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1650; Italy 
2.
Magnificat À 8 by Pier Francesco Cavalli
Conductor:  Bruno Gini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pifarescha,  Claudio Monteveri Chorus Parma
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1656; Italy 
3.
Canzon à 10 by Pier Francesco Cavalli
Conductor:  Bruno Gini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pifarescha,  Claudio Monteveri Chorus Parma
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
4.
Canzon à 12 by Pier Francesco Cavalli
Conductor:  Bruno Gini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pifarescha,  Claudio Monteveri Chorus Parma
Period: Baroque 
Written: by 1656; Italy 
5.
Dixit Dominus by Pier Francesco Cavalli
Conductor:  Bruno Gini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pifarescha,  Claudio Monteveri Chorus Parma
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 
6.
Laetatus Sum by Pier Francesco Cavalli
Conductor:  Bruno Gini
Orchestra/Ensemble:  La Pifarescha,  Claudio Monteveri Chorus Parma
Period: Baroque 
Written: Italy 

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