Saturday, 3 May 2014

BENEDETTO MARCELLO - VENETIAN REQUIEM

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.” - Mark Twain

For Music Saturday, Benedetto Marcello’s “Requiem in the Venetian Manner” (SF. B660). With Barbara Zanichelli – soprano; Marisa Pugina – soprano; Elena Biscuola – alto; Paolo Costa – alto; Mauro Collina – tenor; Vincenzo di Donato – tenor; Marco Scavazza – bass; Walter Testolin – bass; Athestis Chorus; Academia de li Musici; Francesco Moi – organ; Сonductor - Filippo Maria Bressan.


Benedetto Marcello (31 July or 1 August 1686 – 24 July 1739) was what eighteenth century chroniclers called a “dilettante”; not a dabbler as in the current vernacular, but an aristocrat who also pursued musical composition as a sideline. Born in Venice, Marcello served the Venetian Republic as a magistrate from about 1708 until 1728, when he was exiled to the resort city of Pula, now in Croatia. In 1738 Marcello was appointed to his final position as chief financial officer of the city of Brescia, but died after less than a year in this job on or around his 53rd birthday.


Marcello was best known in his day through his massively influential eight-volume publication Estro poetico-armonico (1724-1726), popularly known as the “Psalmi”. It is a collection of 50 psalm settings for male voices. Marcello’s sacred vocal music was revered by most of his contemporaries as representing the supreme example of contrapuntal technique, and he was in use in teaching through the end of the nineteenth century. Scarcely less popular was his treatise, “Il teatro alla moda” (1720), a satire that skewered the opera world of his time.


Marcello wrote nearly 400 cantatas, some so well known that they exist in up to 25 contemporary manuscript copies, in addition to oratorios, operas, and nearly 100 small chamber works for singers. His surviving instrumental catalogue is less generous, mostly consisting of keyboard sonatas, but also containing a few sinfonias and concertos. All of Marcello’s instrumental music was composed by 1710 or thereabouts; the set of 12 concerti published as Marcello’s Op. 1 in 1708, including the work transcribed by Johann Sebastian Bach as BWV 981, is lacking its first violin part. Composer Alessandro Marcello was Benedetto’s older brother, and some of Alessandro’s music has been misattributed to Benedetto. Various instrumental pieces attributed to Marcello are merely instrumental arrangements of his Psalmi, in some cases made decades after his death.


Requiem in the Venetian Manner
1 Campane da morto ('Death Bell') - 0:26 
2 Sonata for organ, SF C737 b. 1 5:04
in G minor - g-Moll - sol mineur: Francesco Moi organ 
Introitus 17:16
3 Requiem aeternam - 4:29
4 Kyrie I and II 4:18
5 Christe - 2:50
6 Kyrie III - 5:38 
Sequentia 21:14
7 Dies irae - 1:25
8 Quantus tremor - 0:39
9 Tuba mirum - 1:12
10 Mors stupebit - 1:52
11 Liber scriptus - 2:46
12 Rex tremendae - 1:00
13 Recordare - 3:16
14 Qui Mariam - 0:45
15 Preces meae - 1:16
16 Inter oves - 0:51
17 Confutatis - 0:55
18 Ora supplex - 1:38
19 Lacrymosa - 3:40 
20 Offertorium 5:42 
21 Sonata for organ, SF C736 b. 3 [in loco Sanctus] 3:05 
in G minor - g-Moll - sol mineur 
Motet: 'Dulcis Jesu Mater cara', SF B637 [in loco Agnus Dei] 8:09
22 Dulcis Jesu, Mater cara - 3:00
23 In stellarum Regina - 1:08
24 In isto mundo labili - 4:00 
[Communio] 2:16
25 Lux aeterna 0:35
26 Requiem aeternam 1:40

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