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Carissimi: Oratorios Box set

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Audio CD, Box set, February 26, 2013
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Editorial Reviews

Giacomo Carissimi may not exactly be a household name, but during his time he was one of the most respected musicians in Europe. Born in 1605, he avoided becoming a cooper, unlike the rest of his family, cultivating his musical talent first as a singer, then organist, and eventually chapel master. He enjoyed a succession of positions at various religious institutions in his native Italy, including the church of the Jesuit Collegium Germanicum in Rome -- which, under his guidance, was transformed into an international centre. Now regarded as the grandfather of modern European music, Carissimi was essentially responsible for the forging of a new medium of ecclesiastical expression and it is to his cultivation of this genre that this compilation is dedicated

Product Details

  • Conductor: Colusso
  • Composer: Carissimi
  • Audio CD (February 26, 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 9
  • Format: Box set
  • Note on Boxed Sets: During shipping, discs in boxed sets occasionally become dislodged without damage. Please examine and play these discs. If you are not completely satisfied, we'll refund or replace your purchase.
  • Label: Brilliant Classics
  • ASIN: B00A8QBFN2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,067 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on May 21, 2015
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Never heard of the composer "Arion Romanus?" Not surprising: Arion was a semi-mythical Ancient Greek, none of whose music has survived. His reputation, nevertheless, was once so powerful that Giacomo Carissimi (1604-1674) was lionized as the "Roman Arion." Twenty-eight of his motets were published in a collection entitled "Arion Romanus," and it's that collection which the ensemble Seicentonovecento has recorded. Their 2-CD performances of these motets, and their nine CDs of the complete Latin oratorios of Carissimi, have catapulted Carissimi into my pantheon of Baroque composers. No one in Rome in 1650 would have been shocked to hear Carissimi identified as "the greatest composer of the age."

One has to wonder why, of all Carissimi's oratorios and cantatas, his "Jepthe" was designated by musicologists as his masterpiece and therefore subjected to so many hideous bellowing walloping quasi-Wagnerian choral performances throughout the 20th C. You can still find several such travesties on CDs today. If you had the misfortune of hearing the Hermann Scherchen Jepthe as a teenager, as I did, you may have passed decades of your life without crediting Carissimi's genius. But you'll be astounded to hear none of the lugubrious Big Bow-wow of Romantic interpretations in the sprightly virtuosity of singing from Ensemble Seicentonovecento. Instead of profound pomposity, you'll hear clarity, delicacy, and variety of affect. Even if you can't comprehend Latin when sung -- smirk! -- you'll sense the theatricality of Carissimi's settings. He was, after all, explicitly the Counter-reformation's answer to secular opera. Seicentonovecento is a mixed ensemble of male and female voices, supported by superb continuo instruments of the 17th C.
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