Giacomo Carissimi: Oratorio Di Daniele Profeta

review carissimi x1 cong

Another CD for those who want some inspiring sacred music for Easter.

Carissimi (1605-1674) was well known in his day, and Samuel Pepys wrote of a performance of his music: “Fine it was, indeed, and too fine for me to judge of,” a review that we’d probably not get away with: “It’s so good we can’t comment”.

It is sacred music; the title track concerns Daniel (wise man, only one to read Nebuchadnezzar’s dreams, got to hang out with lions) while the other pieces on the programme are about Job and Jonah, but it’s accessible. Carissimi was composing on the cusp of secular music dominating the sacred, and you feel he was being reverent with an eye to the masses.

Carissimi helped develop the-then new oratorio (orchestra, choir, and soloists) but was also involved in the development of the recitative, in which a singer is allowed to adopt the rhythms of ordinary speech. The end result is sacred music that leans towards musical theatre, with vocal parts that are not too intimidating.

It’s all pleasant, reflective, and resonant of solemn church music while being easy on the ear; a calming glimpse into eternity.

Weser-Renaissance Bremen perform, conducted by Manfred Cordes. This is out on CPO 777489-2.

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