Giacomo Carissimi: Eight Motets

review carissimi x1 cong

Some church music is intended to instill awareness of the immenseness of infinity, some to sing along to and some to be reverential but pleasing, and this CD is in the last category. You could listen to it for its relaxed but respectful religious tones, or just play it to relax. Showing the timelessness of music, it’s a blend of early music and modern ambient.

Giacomo Carissimi was one of the most admired of 17th century Italian composers. Born in the small town of Marino, near Rome, he won himself fame at an early age across Europe and excelled in church music, being one of the most significant figures of his day.

He used texts that modified passages from the scriptures, rather than taking those texts directly — the opening Audivi Vocem is a reworking of text from Revelations, Dixit Dominus of Psalm 126 (“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy”).

The performances are excellent, by the Consortium Carissimi (vocals, violin, harp, sackbut, organ etc), conducted by Garrick Comeaux; the sleeve notes say this recording is the result of 20 years’ work by the Consortium Carissimi.

Out on Naxos 8573258.

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