Official Release: 10 December 2021
Latin-texted sacred music enters in dialogue with the texts of the Holy Scriptures, amplifying the ancestral solemnity of an ancient language, generating a universal heritage and culture. The evocative atmosphere that Latin music and texts can generate leads to a poetical aesthetics capable of immersing the listener into a climate of spirituality that brings him closer to and unites him with the divine creative source.
Music combined with ancient texts thus becomes also a universal patrimony of the spirit and of a humankind in quest of the foundations of life, the research of existence. The ancient Scriptures describe creation as generated by the Logos, by sound. St. John in the Gospel writes “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God”. The Word, the Logos leads to the sonorous nature and therefore to the vibratory act of creation. Every creature vibrates with its own frequency within an energy field that makes it an integral part of the universal vibration. Our senses encode these vibrational frequencies into physical, tactile, aural, visual and subtle perceptions of the living Spirit that is hidden in the universal creation. Music represents a valuable intermediary in this process of fulfillment.
In particular, sacred music aims to convey universal Love through the sound vibrations of the instruments and the voice, messenger of the divine Logos, so that the human soul can immerse itself in the creative and saving energy of divine love. St. John says (Jn 4,7-8) “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love is from God: whoever loves is generated by God and knows God; whoever does not love has not known God, because God is love “.12-13 “…if we love one another, God remains in us and his love is perfect in us”. Love of creation and of its creator is expressed through beauty, joy, harmony and music is a medium, the bridge to an energy of good and love. This CD aims to convey this universal message through a repertoire of sacred music chosen among that written by composers of the second half of the nineteenth century. That century represents a point of synthesis between the rediscovery of the sacred tradition of the earlier centuries (all pieces have Latin lyrics) and at the same time aimed at a renewal of aesthetic canons. Romanticism is the rediscovery of the roots and traditions that turn a people into a cultural identity rather than into a political one. The strength of a people is also contained in its spiritual dimension and in its ability to create a strong community through shared values. Mendelssohn uses one of the oldest forms of vocal polyphony, the Motet, a musical genre which emerged in the thirteenth century and developed above all in the sixteenth century, to create this spiritual community and union through music. The composer combines the ancient musical form of the Motet with Bach’s contrapuntal tradition, whose rediscovery and renaissance after a period of oblivion he contributed to realize. The model of the past is however reworked by the composer in a personal way, through a romantic thematic sonority that adheres to the spirit of the Lat-in sacred texts.
His aesthetic conception aims to combine music with the contents and feelings ex-pressed by the text through the union of voices and the sound mixture of the accompanying instrumental parts, supporting and underlining the Latin lyrics. Composed in 1830, the Motets op. 39 for female choir with organ or piano accompaniment rep-resent the only work for this formation in addition to a mass for two female choirs. The Motets op. 39 are divided into three parts: I. Veni Domine – Chorus “Veni Domine! Veni! Veni Domine et noli tardare, plebi tuae relaxa facinora et revoca dispersos in terram tuam. Excita Domine potentiam tuam et veni ut salvos nos facias”. “Come O Lord! You come! Come Lord and do not delay, free your people from evil and bring the dispersed back to your land. Show your power o Lord and come to save us from evil”. II. Laudate pueri a) Choir “Laudate pueri Dominum, laudate nomen Domini, sit nomen domini benedictum ex hoc nunc et usque in saecula”. “Praise the Lord young people, praise the name of God, now and forever and ever. May God’s name be blessed now and forever and ever” b) trio “Beati omnes qui timent Dominum. Qui ambulant in viis eius”. “Blessed are all those who fear the Lord and walk his ways”. III. Dominica post Pascha (Sunday after Easter) a) Choir “Surrexit pastor bonus qui animam suam posuit pro ovibus suis. Et pro grege suo mori dignatus est. Alleluia, alleluia!”. “The good shepherd is risen who gave his life for his flock. And for his flock he died. Alleluia!” B) “Tulerunt Domunum meum et nescio ubi posuerunt. Si tu sustulisti eum, dicito mihi et ego tollam”. “They took my Lord away and I don’t know where they put him. If you know, tell me and I’ll reach him”. c) Choir “Surrexit Christus spes mea! Alleluia! Praecedet vos in Galilaeam”. “Christ, my hope, is risen. He precedes you to Galilee.” The Missa brevis for female choir by Delibes, a French composer of the second half of the nineteenth century, represents a continuation of the renewal carried out by Mendelssohn.
Sacred music blends with romantic aesthetics and frees itself from the constraint of being performed only within places of worship, opening itself up to concert halls, theaters, salons of an economically increasingly strong bourgeoisie, open to cultural and artistic patronage. The accompaniment of the singing can be performed not only by the organ which would limit the performance to places of worship, but also by the piano. The Missa Brevis follows the classic division into five parts connected to the sections of the mass: Kyrie, Gloria, Sanctus, O Salutaris hostia, Agnus Dei. The piece “Ave Maris Stella” by Delibes, for two soprano voices, also in Latin, dedicated to Mary, reflects the new Romantic taste, open to freer and more expressive musical forms, such as the romance aimed at emphasizing the most intimate feelings of soul and heart.
The text, even in its solemnity, becomes an intimate prayer: “Ave maris Stella, Dei Mater alma atque semper virgo, felix coeli porta…” “Hail star of the sea, loving mother of God and ever Virgin, blessed gate of Heaven”. The pieces by Gabriel Faurè, a French composer contemporaneous with Delibes, lead the listener towards an ever greater emotional and lyrical tension, thanks to a skillful harmonization of the melodic line that creates an intimate, meditative atmosphere of inner recollection, able to envelop the listener in a delicate and sweet expressiveness. The Latin text becomes a poetic musical song based on the clarity of the vocal structure, underlined by the piano accompaniment. The Latin texts of the pieces are the prayers dedicated to the Virgin, “Ave Maria” proposed in two versions for solo soprano op.67 n.2 and for two sopranos op.93, “Salve Regina” op.67 for soloist and “Maria mater Gratiae “op. 47 for two sopranos. The solemnity of the ancient language be-comes an intimate invocation to Mary, to her love as a Mother, mirror of that univer-sal divine merciful love.
Elisabetta Gesuato © 2021
Translation: Chiara Bertoglio
Alice Fraccari began her artistic activity during her childhood singing in a children choir led by Maria Rosa Finotti. She graduated in Early Music Singing (first degree and master) at the Conservatory “Bonporti” in Trento with Lia Serafini. Now she is a member of many choirs and ensemble, as a soloist and a choir singer, specialised in Early Music and different repertoires from all ages. Among her cooperations: Erato Choir conducted by Dario Ribechi; Ut Insieme Vocale Consonante, Siena Cathedral choir “Guido Chigi Saracini” conducted by Lorenzo Donati; FIMA Vocal Ensemble conducted by Alessandro Quarta; I Madrigalisti Estensi conducted by Michele Gaddi; “Il Pomo d’Oro” Choir conducted by Giuseppe Maletto e Francesco Corti. She sang in many national and international festivals, including Urbino Musica Antica Festival, I Pomeriggi Musicali di Milano, Ravenna Festival, Sagra Musicale Umbra, Chigiana International Festival, Festival Oude Muziek Utrecht, Taipei International Choral Festival. She was awarded a special mention within the Fatima Terzo Competition for Early music singing (edition 2021).
Coro Giovanile Femminile “Il Garda in Coro”
The female youth choir “IL GARDA IN CORO” was founded in 2013 under the direction of MARIA ROSA FINOTTI. It is composed by 16 choristers aged between 14 and 26 years, whose vocal education was entrusted to Maria Rosa Finotti since their childhood. The Choir is the result of the union of several children’s choirs, “Il Garda in coro di Malcesine”, “I bambini di Bure” and “Coro giovanile di San Zeno di Montagna”, all directed by Maria Rosa Finotti. The Choir has performed for important musical institutions: in 2014 it participated in the show “Rock Love Chopin” directed by Matusiak Andrzej with important international artists at the Arena di Verona. It was awarded first prize with top marks at the National Music Competition “Val di Sole” - Trento and the prize “Laslo Spezzaferri 2015” awarded by the Conservatory of Verona for its musical activity. It was invited by the Conservatory of Verona and the International Choral Competition for Children’s & Youth Choirs of Malcesine to perform in workshops and international master classes with Lucio Golino, Luigi Mazzola, Mario Lanaro, Mario Mora, Mateja Cernic, and Catharina Sharp. It collaborated with the music society “Lirica Italiana” in the opera “Suor Angelica” by Puccini in 2017 and in the opera “La Boheme” by Puccini in 2018, each performed a number of times at the theatre SS. Trinità in Verona. The Choir took part in many live radio programmes during religious worships broadcast worldwide by Radio Maria. The Choir performs its entire repertoire by memory. It includes both sacred and secular works, from Gregorian chant to contemporary music, from a cappella pieces to others with piano and orchestra.
Coro Giovanile Femminile “Il Garda in Coro”: Emma Brighenti, Matilde Campagnari, Eleonora Daducci, Francesca Finotti, Ilenia Gullè, Nives Heltai, Valentina La Greca, Giulia Modena, Eleonora Nicolis, Marcella Pasotti, Elisa Saccani, Anna Sartori, Lisa Toffalori, Tullia Trevisan, Sara Zandaval.
Elisabetta Gesuato graduated in piano with top marks and honours at the Conservatory “Cesare Pollini” in Padova. She holds a degree in Italian literature with top mark and honour at the University of Padova and a Diploma of specialization degree in literature at the University of Venice. She attended piano specialization courses at the Akademie Mozarteum in Salzburg with M° Alfons Kontarsky, and chamber music courses at the Accademia Pianistica “Incontri con il Maestro” in Imola with M° Dario De Rosa, Maureen Jones and Piernarciso Masi. She gave many concerts for musical and cultural Associations, Universities, Academies and Conservatories as a soloist and as a member of piano duo, chamber ensembles, choral concerts and with orchestras in the most important Italian cities, in France, Swiss, Germany, Moldova, Russia. As a member of a piano duo she recorded a CD for Da Vinci Classics by the title of “Rêver d'un rêve majestueux” focusing on Russian composers Čajkovskij, Rachmaninov and Bortkievic. That CD was awarded the silver medal at the Global Music Award in California (USA). She is the artistic director of the Music Association AGIMUS, of the International Concert Season in Padova and of the International Musical Competition “Premio City di Padova”. She also has an intensive teaching activity: she taught piano at the Conservatory Pollini and at the Liceo Musicale of Padua, as well as literature, history and Latin in public high schools in Padova.
Federico Fiorio In 2007 Federico Fiorio began singing with the Treble voice choir “I bambini di Bure”, conducted by Maria Rosa Finotti. He later graduated with honors and special praise in Renaissance and Baroque singing under the guidance of Lia Serafini. He has also specialized in the practice of the Baroque repertoire through masterclasses and opera studios with Roberta Invernizzi, Alessandro Quarta and Francesco Erle. He performed as a soloist interpreting operatic roles in the following Italian theaters: the "Ristori" theater of Verona, the "Filarmonico" theater and Arena of Verona, the "Verdi" theater of Padova, the "Fondazione" theater of Pisa, the "Olimpico" theater of Vicenza, the "Mario del Monaco" theater of Treviso. His recently debuted in the double role of First Witch and Spirit in Purcell's Dido & Aeneas conducted by Giulio Prandi last March whilst in June he was a soloist in Carl Orff's Carmina Burana at the "San Carlo" theater in Naples under the baton of Luis Basso. He collaborated as a soloist and in ensembles performing in the main festivals dedicated to Baroque music with Alfredo Bernardini, Fabio Bonizzoni, Marco Fracassi, Francesco Erle, Marian Polin, Carlo Ipata, Andrea De Carlo, Jordy Savall, Luis Basso and Giulio Prandi.
Maria Rosa Finotti graduated in piano and attended the workshop in Didactic and Choral Education given by Maestro Mario Lanaro at the Conservatory “Dall'Abaco” in Verona. She studied opera singing with soprano Daniela Longhi. She teaches piano, choral and opera singing as well as the Orff method at music schools in Garda and Peschiera. Her field of specialization is children’s vocality. She has an intense concert activity with children’s and youth choirs such as “Le Voci Gioiose”, “Coro giovanile femminile di S. Zeno di Montagna”, “I bambini di Bure”, “Il Garda in Coro”. She collaborated with important musical institutions like the Conservatory of Verona, “Fondazione Arena di Verona”, “Società Musicale Lirica Italiana”, and the Piergiorgio Righele Academy. She was also a jury member at the 9th national and international competition of Malcesine.
(b Hamburg, 3 Feb 1809; d Leipzig, 4 Nov 1847). German composer. One of the most gifted and versatile prodigies, Mendelssohn stood at the forefront of German music during the 1830s and 40s, as conductor, pianist, organist and, above all, composer. His musical style, fully developed before he was 20, drew upon a variety of influences, including the complex chromatic counterpoint of Bach, the formal clarity and gracefulness of Mozart and the dramatic power of Beethoven and Weber.
Mendelssohn’s emergence into the first rank of 19th-century German composers coincided with efforts by music historiographers to develop the concept of a Classic–Romantic dialectic in 18th and 19th-century music. To a large degree, his music reflects a fundamental tension between Classicism and Romanticism in the generation of German composers after Beethoven.
Gabriel Fauré: (b Pamiers, Ariège, 12 May 1845; d Paris, 4 Nov 1924). French composer, teacher, pianist and organist. The most advanced composer of his generation in France, he developed a personal style that had considerable influence on many early 20th-century composers. His harmonic and melodic innovations also affected the teaching of harmony for later generations.
Léo Delibes (b St Germain du Val, 21 Feb 1836; d Paris, 16 Jan 1891). French composer. His father was in the postal service, while his mother, an able musician, was the daughter of an opera singer and niece of the organist Edouard Batiste. Léo, the only child, learnt music from his mother and uncle; after his father’s death in 1847 the family moved to Paris, where he entered Tariot’s class at the Conservatoire. He obtained a premier prix in solfège in 1850 and later studied the organ with Benoist and composition with Adolphe Adam. His Conservatoire career was without distinction, and he never entered for the Prix de Rome. He was a chorister at Ste Marie-Madeleine and sang as a boy in the première of Meyerbeer’s Le prophète at the Opéra in 1849. At the age of 17 he became organist of St Pierre-de-Chaillot and also accompanist at the Théâtre Lyrique. Although he remained a church organist until 1871, Delibes was clearly drawn more to the theatre. For a short time around 1858 he wrote criticism for the Gaulois hebdomadaire under the pseudonym Eloi Delbès, but he found his métier at Hervé’s highly successful Folies-Nouvelles, where in 1856 his first stage work was played. Deux sous de charbon, an ‘asphyxie lyrique’ in one act, was the first of his many light operettas, appearing henceforth roughly one a year for 14 years. Many were written for the Bouffes-Parisiens, Offenbach’s theatre, including his second piece, Deux vieilles gardes, which enjoyed enormous success, largely due to his gift for witty melody and lightness of touch.