Graziani Motets Naxos Review


David Denton

David's Review Corner, February 2016

Last November, Consortium Carissimi frequented us with the motets of Bonifazio Graziani, a now totally forgotten 17th century composer of Italian church music. In my review, I sketched his life as having spent most of his years as an ordained priest in Rome, sharing his time between those ecclesiastical duties and that of the maestro di cappella for La Chiesa del Gesu, a position that in itself was of considerable importance. It would have called for an unending flow of music, such as the twelve Cantatas on this disc that would have served as a part of regular services. Such was his importance that he had  his music published, which was, in itself, unusual at that time.

Solo cantatas for up to four voices, rather than the larger choral forces, seem to have attracted him, and he was equally to use his cantatas to comment on a whole range of subjects, the present disc opening and closing on the philosophical subject of the fragility of life. The exact date of composition is unknown as they were published posthumously on the instigation of his brother. Sadly two of the opus number have had to be omitted as they would have exceeded the running time of a CD, and, though no explanation is offered, the indexed order has been changed.

The American-based Consortium Carissimi do not make any claim to period authenticity, though the flexible sized ensemble use a group of period instruments in support of its singers. There are times when the music seems to have only recently been known to them—apparently they only give three public concerts annually—but they are sincerely presented, Linh Kauffman giving a particularly radient Generoso pensiero. Texts and English translations are available as a download from Naxos.

© 2016 David’s Review Corner

© 2016 David’s Review Corner


© 2016 David’s Review Corner