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ClassicsOnline Home » MELANI, A.: Motets (Concerto Italiano, Alessandrini)
Marvelous Melani From Santa Maria Maggiore
Pistoian-born Alessandro Melani is another one of those 17th century Italian composers whom you hear for the first time and wonder, “where have you been all my life?” Well, it’s only fairly recently that his music has been shaped into performing editions after being dug out from the archives of a number of Roman churches, most notably the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.
Born to a musical family, Melani was a singer who worked his way up the ladder and eventually won the coveted post of maestro di cappella at Rome’s Santa Maria Maggiore (the Papal basilica and place where Palestrina was maestro di cappella back in the 16th century). Melani was pretty prolific and equally adept in the worlds of sacred music, instrumental music and opera.
This recording by Concerto Italiano led by Rinaldo Alessandrini features Melani’s motets for various combinations of voices. In the rhapsodic and sonorous Litanie per la beata vergine for nine-part double choir, Melani has each choir sing different lines of the text and sometimes, to great effect, assigns specific lines for groups of two or three voices. These madrigal-like passages are very striking. De necessitatibus, a five-part setting, opens with some striking stile antico-styled passages before taking some interesting harmonic turns. There’s plenty more like this.
I can’t speak highly enough of the performances. Concerto Italiano boasts some of the A-list vocal talent on the early music scene and when you have such sopranos as Anna Simboli, Monica Piccinini and Alena Dantcheva on board, things are going to be quite beautiful – just check out the astounding Ave regina for solo soprano and five-part chorus. Rare repertoire for sure, but repertoire you are going to love.more....
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MELANI, A.: Motets (Concerto Italiano, Alessandrin...