Alessandro Della Ciaia, Roberta Invernizzi, Laroratorio '600 - Lamentationi

Published Thursday 31st March 2016
Alessandro Della Ciaia, Roberta Invernizzi, Laroratorio '600 - Lamentationi
Alessandro Della Ciaia, Roberta Invernizzi, Laroratorio '600  - Lamentationi

STYLE: Classical
RATING 6 6 6 6 6 6
LABEL: Glossa GCD922903

Reviewed by Steven Whitehead

It has to be said that some composers are obscure for a reason. Alessandro Della Ciaia (c.1605-1670) was a wealthy man and talented amateur musician who wrote a new setting for the Lamentations of Jeremiah. Convents throughout Siena at the time boasted nuns of considerable musical talents, both in singing and in playing instruments such as the organ, lute and theorbo, and it is undoubtedly for one such convent that the noble gentleman wrote his music for the Holy Week's matins services. His Lamentations are scored for a solo soprano possessed of a very wide range and capable of meeting his demanding technical effects. However, for a modern listener this sounds like what it is: music from a long time ago that may well have spoken to its original audience but today is of merely historical interest. Clearly much time and effort has gone in to this recording and Roberta Invernizzi is the ideal modern-day singer to rise to such spiritual music and to respond to the text and its description of the grief over the fall of the city of Jerusalem and the terrible fate of its people. However, even a first-rate singer cannot breathe life into such tedious music. Alessandro Della Ciaia was himself a noted player of the archlute, and his instrumental facility is evident across the Lamentations, here performed by harp, archlute, organ and theorbo. Franco Pavan has chosen to intersperse the nine lamentations with toccatas by Michelagnolo Galilei, Claudio Saracini and Vincenzo Bernia as well as Pavan's own reworking of an appropriate motet by Della Ciaia. Thus it is possible to programme your CD player to have the three sets of Lamentations in their liturgical order for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday and then enjoy a short lute recital lasting about 20 minutes. While the musicianship is excellent throughout this reviewer found himself agreeing with the critic who famously said of Mozart that there were "too many notes."

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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