Colonna – Triumphate Fideles

Giovanni Paolo Colonna (1637-1695) is not well-known today, although he one of the most well-respected (and interesting) figures of the mid-1600s. He was a composer, teacher, organist and organ builder. His fame as a composer rested mainly on his large-scale sacred works — oratorios and masses.

This release, however, features a collection of his sacred motets for solo voice, presenting a different side of Colonna.

While his larger works show his skill at counterpoint, these motets are more concerned with melody. And what gorgeous melodies they are.

Phrases lead naturally into each other, and because this is music for the church (rather than the stage), ornamentation is kept to a minimum. The result is a set of twelve simple — but not simplistic — settings of Latin texts.

Soprano Francesca Cassinari has a particularly appealing sound (for me). Her clear, pure voice serves the music well. Salvo Vitale is another standout. His rich, full bass voice has a rounded warmth to it I really liked. That’s not slight alto Elena Carzaniga or tenor Paolo Borgnovo — their performances were appealing as well.

The Astrarium Consort has a good ensemble sound. The use of the baroque harp in the continuo provides some nice contrast to the harpsichord, and make the ensemble sound more intimate, somehow.

Giovanni Paolo Colonna: Triumphate Fideles: Complete Motets for Solo Voice and Instruments
Francesca Cassinari, soprano; Elena Carzaniga, alto; Paolo Borgonovo, tenor; Salvo Vitale, bass;
Astrarium Consort, Carlo Centemeri, conductor
Brilliant Classics 94647 2 CD Set

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