Giacomo CARISSIMI (1605-74) – Jephte
Alessandro SCARLATTI (1660-1725) – Dixit Dominus [iv]
Antonio VIVALDI (1678-1741) – Credo RV 591
Jan ZELENKA (1679-1745) – Miserere ZWV 57
Mayfield Festival Choir directed by Jeremy Summerly with the Mayfield Baroque Orchestra.
Tickets will be on general sale from 5 October.
Carissimi’s Jephte is the first great oratorio, written at a time when the church was concerned that opera was taking great music away from the church. The solution was to set Bible stories to music and do away with expensive sets and costumes: hey presto, oratorio was born, and at its best it is every bit as colourful as opera. In particular, the closing chorus of Carissimi’s Jephte is iconically tear-jerking. Alessandro Scarlatti was Sicilian, yet he studied in Rome with Carissimi and was moreover the father of two accomplished composers. Scarlatti was for a short time the Director of Music at the church in Rome where Palestrina had served over a century earlier, and Scarlatti’s church music is no less accomplished than the operas for which he is justly famous. Vivaldi and Zelenka (Italian and Czech respectively) were two of J S Bach’s more glittering contemporaries. But it’s difficult for your posthumous reputation if you’re always compared to Bach. Vivaldi had to wait until the second half of the 20th century to have his real worth recognised, and Zelenka is, to a certain extent, still doing so. But the music of both composers is captivating, and every compellingly predictable gesture from the Italian is matched by a beguilingly idiosyncratic one from the Czech master. Join us on this journey from the early to the late Baroque with its colourful patchwork of sounds manufactured by choir, vocal soloists, and period instrumentalists.