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The Cardinal King - Music for Henry Benedict Stuart in Rome, 1740-91; Works by Bolis, Sebastieno; Costanzi, Jommelli, Tessarini, Zamboni / Cappella Fede; Harmonia Sacra

Album Summary

>Bolis, Sebastiano : Assoluzziones (5), for chorus
>Bolis, Sebastiano : Jesu quaeritis Nazarenum, for chorus
>Zamboni, Giovanni : Splende fredda luna, madrigal
>Zamboni, Giovanni : O memorie funeste, madrigal
>Costanz, Giovanni Battista : Ave Maria, for 3 voices
>Zamboni, Giovanni : O come se' gentile, madrigal
>Bolis, Sebastiano : Laudate pueri Dominum, for chorus
>Bolis, Sebastiano : Miserere, for chorus
>Tessarini, Carlo : Allettamento Terza, for violin & cello, Op. 3/3
>Jommelli, Niccolò : Oculi omnium, for 4 voices
>Tessarini, Carlo : Allettamento Secondo
>Zamboni, Giovanni : Feritevi, ferite, madrigal
>Bolis, Sebastiano : Letanie della Madonna Santissima, for chorus
Conductor Ensembles Composers

Notes & Reviews:

Everyone has heard of "bonnie Prince Charlie', but almost no one knows his younger brother, Henry Benedict Stuart (1725-1807), grandson of King James II of England and VII of Scotland and the last in the direct line of Jacobite succession, was a major figure in the hierarchy of the Vatican, and an important patron of the arts. This album presents the hitherto forgotten repertoire composed by the many musicians associated with and employed by Henry Benedict. Sitting on the cusp of the Baroque and the Classical, these pieces likewise tread a delicate path between innocence and grandeur, between charm and formality, and suggest that the Cardinal, for all his power, may have been a rather gentle man. Little of the music of these five composers has been recorded- this is yet another areawhere the partnership between musicologist-musicians and Toccata Classics is throwing light on unknown corners of the repertoire. Ensemble Cappella Fede comprises some of the finest specialist early-music performers in Britain. Formed by Peter Leech in 2008 in response to an invitation to perform at St. Francis Xavier's Church, Liverpool, for the 'Held in Trust' exhibition, the group specializes in late seventeenth- and eighteenth-century music. This is the choir's first recording.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015).



Reviews

Late Baroque Sacred Treasures
Henry Benedict Stuart, the younger brother of "Bonnie Prince Charlie," was a lover of music and frequenter of the opera before taking his orders. After becoming a cardinal, Henry forsook the secular and became a strong patron of sacred music composers. This release presents a sampling of the Cardinal King' patronage, with music ranging from the 1740s through 1791.

Stylistically, most of the compositions walk a fine line between sacred and secular. Their polyphony harkens back to the late renaissance. The a capella pieces especially have an older 17th-century sound to them.

And yet when instruments are added, the accompanying patterns seem to have more in common with mid-Baroque Italian opera (albeit with an organ, rather than a harpsichord filling in the harmonies).

Relatively well-known Italian composers such as Niccolo Jommelli and violinist Carlo Tessarini are represented, but the most interesting works (to me, anyway) come from lesser lights. Sebastiano Bolis was Henry's maestro di Cappella for almost twenty years. And while he composed a large body of work, he remains obscure and his music mostly unheard. His works presented here are masterworks of choral writing. While seemingly simple and unadorned, they nevertheless use some very piquant dissonances to emphasize words and lead voices to a proper resolution.

Even more obscure is Giovanni Zamboni, who may or may not be the son of a famous lutenist by the same name. Zamboni's music seems to draw on Monteverdi for inspiration. His works are contemporary takes on the art of the madrigal. Like Monteverdi, Zamboni starts with the text and uses it to shape the direction of the music. Knowing these works were written in the 1750s, I can only describe their sound as retro -- and beautiful.

The Cappella Fede and Harmonia Sacra, directed by Peter Leech have a smooth vocal blend. Each line is clearly articulated, making the contrapuntal passages especially effective. This is a recording I enjoyed very much, both for its artistry and its spiritual authenticity.
Submitted on 03/01/17 by RGraves321 
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Works Details

>Bolis, Sebastiano : Assoluzziones (5), for chorus
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Ensemble: Cappella Fede
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: circa 1780

>Bolis, Sebastiano : Jesu quaeritis Nazarenum, for chorus
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Ensemble: Harmonia Sacra
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 4 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1789

>Zamboni, Giovanni : Splende fredda luna, madrigal
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 22 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1755

>Zamboni, Giovanni : O memorie funeste, madrigal
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1755

>Costanz, Giovanni Battista : Ave Maria, for 3 voices
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 14 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1750

>Zamboni, Giovanni : O come se' gentile, madrigal
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1755

>Bolis, Sebastiano : Laudate pueri Dominum, for chorus
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 5 min. 44 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1791

>Bolis, Sebastiano : Miserere, for chorus
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 13 min. 23 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1790

>Tessarini, Carlo : Allettamento Terza, for violin & cello, Op. 3/3
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 10 min. 8 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1740

>Jommelli, Niccolò : Oculi omnium, for 4 voices
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 2 min. 50 sec.
  • Period Time: Classical
  • Written: 1750

>Tessarini, Carlo : Allettamento Secondo :: II. Andante
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 4 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque

>Zamboni, Giovanni : Feritevi, ferite, madrigal
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 3 min. 12 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Form: Choral
  • Written: 1755

>Bolis, Sebastiano : Letanie della Madonna Santissima, for chorus
  • Conductor: Peter Leech
  • Notes: Chapel of St. Mary's College, Oscott, Birmingham (06/09/2015-06/11/2015)
  • Running Time: 12 min. 19 sec.
  • Period Time: Baroque
  • Written: 1785