Cavalli Musiche Sacre: Recording, Performance, Research

Best known as one of the first writers of Opera, Francesco Cavalli was the most famous composer in Europe during his lifetime. However he was also a church musician throughout his life, amongst other appointments as singer and later Maestro di Capella of the Basilica San Marco in Venice. His sacred music, however, of which there must have been a great deal, is rarely performed. Written for the office of Vespers, Cavalli’s psalm settings are thrilling, switching between Venetian choral antiphony and extended, operatic recitative sections at the drop of a hat. Poignantly for our times, Cavalli wrote many of these settings during the great plagues of Venice and as such whilst certain pieces call for forces of double-choir, eight soloists and a band of instrumentalists, others take intimate chamber forms as duets and trios.

The Swan Consort are delighted to be working with American musicologist Dr. Eric Esparza, who has created a modern performing edition of the complete Vespers motets of the 1656 Musiche Sacre publication. The Swan Consort aim to record the collection in the first complete recording of the opus.

In August 2020, they delivered an online recital of selected works for the Royal Opera House Mumbai.

In Association

In a research-based collaboration The Swan Consort are undertaking to perform and record Cavalli’s Musiche Sacre collection of 1656 in a new edition by American musicologist Dr Eric Esparza. The first performance solely of his works was in London in 2019, and a short selection were subsequently presented as a live-recorded recital by The Royal Opera House, Mumbai.

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