Princely Splendour - Choral Works from 18th Century Rome
With ‘Princely Splendour’ Harmonia Sacra take the listener on a journey through the tantalising and exquisite sound world of sacred music associated with Cardinals and Princes of the Church in eighteenth-century Rome. Highlights include the first recordings of works by Giovanni Battista Costanzi, Sebastiano Bolis and Giuseppe Ottavio Pitoni, composers working in the circle of patronage around Cardinal Henry Benedict Stuart, brother of Bonnie Prince Charlie and last in the direct line of Stuart succession. A musical celebration of the richness of his cultural surroundings and deep solemnity of his religious devotions.
“The performances are of a very high order. Leech and his choir are persuasive advocates… I welcome the window onto the world of 18th century Italian sacred music in Rome.” Robert Hugill
“The best known music of the great churches of Rome is inevitably that of the time of Palestrina. He wrote over one hundred masses as well as much other sacred music during the time that he was employed at various churches there. Such was his reputation that after his death his style was copied by his successors and came to be expected of them… The items by Bai and Casali are good examples of the use of the Palestrina style, as is the short motet by Costanzi. The latter’s setting of “Dixit Dominus” is however a very different matter. It is for double choir and organ, and is a varied and simply glorious piece which is probably the highlight of the disc.” John Sheppard, musicweb-international.com