Emilio de’Cavelieri: Lamentations

Emilio de’ Cavalieri was a major figure in the early Baroque. He’s credited with writing the first oratorio in 1600. That same year he produced “Euridice” by Jacopo Peri, one of the first operas. 

Cavalieri was also one of the first to write in stile rappresentatvio, or monody. This was a radical departure from the thick textures of Renaissance choral music. 

Cavalieri was also an organist, a dancer/choreographer, and even a diplomat. He wasn’t, though, very diplomatic about his rivals. Stile rappresentavio caught on quickly. 

And Cavalieri was quick to ensure his place in history. “Everyone knows I am the inventor of [this style],” he wrote, “and I said so myself in print.”

At the very least, Cavalieri realized the expressive possibilities of the new style. This collection presents his settings of Jeremiah’s “Lamentations.” This text was traditionally sung during Lent, a time of penance. 

Cavalieri’s music is wonderfully expressive, wringing the emotion from every phrase. His use of chromaticism can sound advanced even today. And his use of dissonance is superb.

The Profeti della Quinta has been researching this music for a decade. It’s only now that they feel ready to share it with the world. Their performances are subtle and effective. It was worth the wait.

Today, Cavalaier’s name isn’t as well-known as Claudio Monteverdi’s and Jacobo Caccini’s. This is in part because so little of Cavalieri’s music survives. But what remains shows a composer inspired by the possibilities of this new style.

Emilio de’Cavelieri: Lamentations
Profeti della Quinta
Pan Classics PC 10451

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