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Lorenzani: Motets /Le Concert Spirituel · Niquet

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Paolo Lorenzani (1640-1713): Sacred VocalMusic

Paolo Lorenzani was born in Rome and as a boy was a chorister in theCappella Giulia. He began his professional career by composing four oratoriosfor the Arciconfraternit?á del Santissimo Crocefisso di S Marcello and was laterappointed maestro di coppella atthe famous Chiesa del Gesu and the Collegio Romano. In 1678 he left Rome totake up a similar position at the cathedral in Messina, where he attracted theattention of the Duc de Vivonne, marshal of France, who was there to supportthe Sicilians in their struggle against Spanish domination. Failing in histask, Vivonne withdrew his troops and returned to France, taking the musicianwith him. Lorenzani was presented to Louis XIV and very quickly won the favourof the King, who helped him to the position surintendantof the Queen's Music to Queen Marie-Therese. Here he was among thegreatest musicians of the time: Boesset, whom he replaced, with the Queen, butalso Du Mont (sous-maitre of theChapel Royal, Nivers, who shared the position in the Queen's chapel with him inalternation) Lully, Robert, Charpentier, Desmaret and others.

Lorenzani spent sixteen years in France, actively participating in themusical life of the court. From1679 the King gave him the task of recruiting castrati from Italy for hischapel. Returning to France in 1681, he took part in the court entertainmentsat Fontainebleau, writing an Italian pastoral Nicandroe Fileno, with a libretto by the Duc de Nevers, nephew of CardinalMazarin. In 1682 he shared with Lalande the composition of a Serenade en forme d'opera. Later still heprovided a tragedy in music, Orontee, commissionedfor the celebrations at Chantilly by the Condes. In 1683 he entered thecompetition (along with the most important ma?«tresde chapelle of the kingdom) to recruit sous-ma?«tres for the Chapel Royal. Although he wasunsuccessful, he was, nevertheless, among the fifteen finalists chosen by theKing. In July 1683 the death of Queen Marie- Therese forced him to leave thecourt. He then moved to the Theatines, an Italian religious order establishedin Paris in 1644. In their church of Sainte- Anne-la-Royale the Theatinefathers organized prayers and ceremonies similar to those practised in theoratories of Rome. Paris and the Court flocked to these occasions which enjoyeda very high reputation, with Lorenzani's music achieving great success.

In this way Lorenzani won fame both at court and in the town, but wasprobably disappointed not to have succeeded in obtaining more importantpositions than those he had. At this time Lully held a monopoly over Frenchmusic at court, imposing taste and rules, and showing no favour to Italianmusic. He had, in fact, unsuccessfully tried to prevent the performance atFontainebleau of Lorenzani's pastoral Nicandroe Fileno. Italian music was, in consequence, performed under limitedcircumstances, in Saint-Andre-des-Arts, Sainte-Anne-la-Royale and perhaps evenin the apartments of Queen Marie-Ther?¿se. Since his arrival in France, however,Lorenzani had known how to adapt to French aesthetic taste, as had otherItalians who emigrated, Gat ti, Bembo, Guido and others, mastering Frenchchoral writing, uniting French and Italian styles in an original style in whichthe melodic line unfolds gracefully and elegantly. Probably discouraged by thefailure of the publication of his motets in 1693, Lorenzani left Paris a yearlater to replace the composer Beretta as maestrodi cappella at the Basilica of St Peter in Rome. He remained inItaly until his death in 1713.

The music of Lorenzani that we have today includes, among the Italianworks, Motets for one, two,three, four, six or eight voices, with basso continuo, two Magnificats for eight and nine voices,with basso continuo, Litaniesforfour voices and basso continuo and the aria Micontento cosi. In France there are Italian arias, cantatas, thethree-act pastoral Nicandro e Fileno andthe 25 Motets published byBallard in 1683. There are, at the same time. different sources for a motet Obstupescite, for three voices andinstruments. attributed either to Lorenzani or to Danielis. This seems verylimited in relation to the number of works that Lorenzani must have writtenduring the course of his life. It is said that his scores were in wide circulationin Paris; today many of them are lost.

The five motets here recorded are taken from a collection of separateprinted parts from the following, sole source:

Motets ?á I. II. III. N. ET v.

parties, avec simphonies et basse continue par Monsieur Lorenzani. Maistre deMusique de lafeue Reyne. (Paris, Christophe Ballard. 1693.)

The transcription used for this recording is taken from volumespreserved in the Paris Biblioth?¿que Nationale de France. These volumes contain25 motets, of which twenty are petits motetsfor a soloist or group of soloists, with or without instruments. Thefive others are grands motets forsoloists, choir and instruments. They come at the end of the volumes and arenumbered from XXI to XXV.

It is of these five grands motets thatthe Concert Spirituel under Herve Niquet has undertaken the first recording.

These motets call for four or five soloists (first soprano and/or secondsoprano, haute-contre, haute-taille andbass), a four-part choir, a la fran?ºaise (soprano,haute-contre, haute-taille andbass), two treble violin parts, a basse deviolon and basso continuo. The form of these works follows the usualscheme of the motet, constructed in different sections determined by a verse ora group of verses in the text. Each motet is preceded by a symphony; this isfollowed by alternating passages for choir and for soloists, the lattersometimes in arioso recitative(in a style approaching that of Lully) and sometimes in arias. There are anumber of melodic turns of phrase in the Italian style, notably in the motet Collaudate and equally in the motet Ad mensam on the word tremisco or again in the panis angelicus sung by the soprano.

The Litanies a la Vierge (Litanyof Our Lady) was probably written after Lorenzani' s return to Rome, after1694, for the Cappella Giulia. It has been transcribed from five separatemanuscript parts preserved in the library of the Cathedral of Tivoli, nearRome. These manuscripts are copies dating probably from the first half of theeighteenth century. They are the only known source of the work. UnlikeLorenzani's French motets, this work calls for an Italian ensemble of soprano,contralto, tenor and bass, with organ continuo. Dedicated to the BlessedVirgin, the Litany consists of a long series of invocations in which solovoices alternate with the full ensemble.

Fannie Vernaz

(English translation by Keith Anderson)

The motets of Lorenzani were written for two choirs and ensemble, aswere those of Lully, Dumont and many other composers of the seventeenthcentury. The contemporary positioning of the instrumental ensemble is retainedfor this recording, where it is placed around the organ, in the centre. The twochoirs are positioned either side of the ensemble, the larger chorus on theleft, soloists to the right. Positive organ (B. Aubertin) and harpsichord (A.

Anselm) are tuned by Pascale Serane (a'=392).

Le Concert Spirituel

Patrick Cohen-Akenine et Myriam Gevers: Violins

Gesine Meyer-Eggen: Cello

Item number 8553648
Barcode 730099464826
Release date 01/01/2000
Label Naxos Classics
Media type CD
Number of units 1
Composers Lorenzani, Paolo
Lorenzani, Paolo
Conductors Niquet, Herve
Niquet, Herve
Orchestras Concert Spirituel, Le
Concert Spirituel, Le
Producers Fox, Simon
Fox, Simon
Disc: 1
Motet pour les confesseurs a voix avec simphonie (
1 Antienne a la Vierge a 5 voix avec simphonie (Anti
2 Motet pour l'elevation a 4 voix avec simphonie (Mo
3 Motet pour tous les temps a 8 voix avec simphonie
4 Litanies a la Vierge (Litany of Our Lady)
5 Dialogue entre Jesus et l'Ame a 5 voix avec simpho
6 Motet pour les confesseurs a voix avec simphonie (
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