Giovanni Rovetta (1596-1668): Beatus Vir

‘For the composition of the music and as master of the chapel, from among so many who could be found in Venice, Signor Rueti was chosen, and expressly ordered to assemble as many singers and instrumentalists as could be found in the city, in order to satisfy the magnificent projects of His Excellency, who desired…

J.S. Bach – Christmas Oratorio BWV 248

Sir John Eliot Gardiner chose to celebrate the 250th anniversary of the death of Johann Sebastian Bach in his own inimitable style: with the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists he undertook an extended concert tour to perform the composer’s entire known output of sacred cantatas at churches and concert halls all over Europe. The…

Dieterich Buxtehude (Attrib): Magnificat

This Magnificat is attributed to Buxtehude mostly on the basis that it appears in Gustav Düben’s collection of  scores. The score has Buxtehude’s name on it in square brackets but if you look at the name it’s very obviously been added by a later hand. Other than that the sole basis for the attribution seems…

Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676): Laetatus sum

During the 1650s Cavalli  was at the height both of his fame and his creative powers, and had reached his career’s apex. This was the decade in which he published no less than fourteen of his thirty-two surviving operas and it was the decade in which he published the Musiche sacre (1656).  The Musiche sacre…

Dieterich Buxtehude (±1637-1707): Cantate Domino

Dieterich Buxtehude’s setting of the first four verses from Psalm 95 in the Vulgate (Psalm 96 in protestant bilbles) is a motet scored for SSB or SAB with accompaniment – Viola Da Gamba and organ. It’s a lovely piece that has strong Italianate influences. Close your eyes and you could easily imagine it to be…

Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676): Magnificat A Sei Voci

Cavalli was born in Crema in February 1602 the son of Giovanni Battista Caletti Bruni, who at that time was maestro di cappella in Crema’s Cathedral. He had a particularly beautiful voice, so much so that Federigo Cavalli, the chief magistrate of the city and one of Venice’s foremost aristocrats took the then fourteen-year old…

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Magnificat RV610a

There are several versions of Vivaldi’s Magnificat in G minor the earliest would most likely have been written for the Pietà and dates to some time in or around 1715. Early in the 1720s Vivaldi revisited it reworking the lower voices to make them more suitable for lower voices and adding a pair oboes for…

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Beatus vir RV598

Beatus vir RV598 is the second of Vivaldi’s two settings of Psalm 111 (112) based upon a now lost original that have survived (I wrote about the other one last week see: Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741): Beatus vir RV597 | Saturday Chorale). It’s a setting in B flat major and it’s something of an oddity because…