This is another CD that would make a nice Christmas CD for anyone who wants a palatable album of religious music for the festive season.
Bonifazio Graziani (d 1664) was an Italian organist, composer and clergyman in the Baroque period, and little appears to be known about his music today. The sleeve notes report that the small-scale motet was at the heart of daily and weekly musical practice in the Roman Catholic Church of the mid-17th century, and Graziani was one of the genre’s most distinguished exponents, presumably churning out large quantities of work. He was so good that he was commissioned by Pope Innocent X to compose solemn music for the “most holy year” of 1650, and his work was in demand across Europe. (The year 1650 was a Jubilee in Rome, the next being 2016, Pope Francis’s Jubilee emphasising God’s mercy).
This is an elegant album, and has a nice mix of early music (which we love in the Review Corner) and echoey church music.
The music is performed by the Garrick Comeaux’s Consortium Carissimi, which performs long forgotten Italian baroque music of the 16th and 17th centuries: sackbut, harpsichord and organ feature, as well as arch lute and theorbo. Voices are soprano, mezzo-soprano, tenor, baritone and bass. Presumably when Graziano was writing, the soprano and mezzo-soprano would have been castrato.
It’s a nice album, not too overbearing while being calming and uplifting. Out on Naxos (8573256).