Ottavio Catalani

Ave Virgo gratiosa, Mottetto a 3; Alto, Tenore, Basso e basso continuo
(Rev. and Intr. by Lorenzo Ghielmi)
DVPF 20279 12 Pages 12,90 Euro 4,00 Euro
Corona aurea super caput eius, Mottetto a 3; Alto, Tenore, Basso e basso continuo
(Rev. and Intr. by Lorenzo Ghielmi)
DVPF 20280 12 Pages 12,90 Euro 4,00 Euro

(b Enna, Sicily; d ?Messina, 1644 or later). Italian composer and organist. He was an organist at Catania before he left Sicily for Rome (some time before 1600), where in 1601 he is known to have been maestro di cappella of S Apollinare. He spent the earlier part of his composing life in Rome: he was employed as a composer and teacher at the Collegio Germanico for some years up to 1615, and from April 1613 until at least the end of 1621 he was the private teacher of Prince Marc’Antonio Borghese of Sulmona, nephew of Pope Paul V, from whom he received patronage in the form of ecclesiastical benefices. During his time in Rome he also taught the nephews of Popes Clement VIII and Leo XI and was named maestro di cappella to the King of Poland. He also took part in Easter processions at the Oratorio di S Marcello. Some time between 1622 and 1624 he returned to Sicily, becoming maestro of Messina Cathedral in the latter year. The heading of Sacro invito described him as an abbot.

Catalani belonged by adoption to the Roman school that flourished in the generation after the death of Palestrina. According to Lionnet, his music, which is almost entirely for the church, is in a modern style. Some works employ up-to-date concertato textures, and in the Pastorale Lionnet finds foreshadowing of the style of Luigi Rossi. Catalini’s only extant publication is the Sacrarum cantionum … liber primus. His other published music is found in several Roman anthologies and also in some published as far afield as Leipzig and Strasbourg. Like many of his contemporaries he wrote works for two choirs, for example two settings of the psalm Beatus vir (in manuscripts at GB-Ob). One, in the 8th mode, has no continuo but is in a lively style with much rhythmic variety; there are few tuttis and no word-painting. The other, by contrast, has some massive tuttis and restrained word-painting and is more homophonic. Catalani also wrote oratorio-like music for particular occasions at Messina: the Quarant’ore devotion at the Jesuit church on 19 February 1640 and a Novena celebration in 1644 by the Theatine Fathers of the Oratorio de’ Mendicanti. In these he used an up-to-date array of instruments of all kinds, including a varied continuo section.

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