Giovanni Paolo Colonna (1637-1695) was a native of Bologna and the music director of one of its major churches, dedicated to San Petronio, where he presided over a rich culture of sacred music distinguished by participation from names now far better known to us such as Torelli, Bononcini and Giovanni Gabrieli. This valuable set brings together for the first time on record all his surviving compositions in the form of the sacred motet which was so popular as an extra-liturgical contribution (perhaps performed as offertory or communion music) towards worship, featuring the skills of what must have been highly skilled singers as well as a rich continuo section.
Colonna’s music has received relatively little attention on record until now, though Philippe Jaroussky concluded a 2009 album with the gorgeous O coeli devota, and there is one other, older recording of several other motets, as well as a larger-scale oratorio. So the time is now right to reassess his contribution and his own voice, with excellent new, historically informed performances led by Carlo Centemeri, who has already brought several rarities from the Italian Baroque to Brilliant Classics, including music by Albinoni (BC94852) and Bassani (BC94259), which received 5 star reviews in Amadeus and Diapason.
These motets are multi-movement works, scarcely dwelling for long on any one emotion or text, even in the arias, but moving pacily though narratives of repentance, devotion and praise, and mostly concluding with exuberant Allelujas, much as Bach would fashion his Jauchzet Gott BWV51 for solo soprano in the Italian style a generation later. Anyone with even a passing interest in the Italian Baroque and its charming byways will want to hear this.
First recordings by Giovanni Colonna (1637-1695), who was the Music Director of the famous church San Petronio in his native Bologna. He composed his Sacred Motets for liturgical use, on devotional texts in Latin.
This set presents the complete motets for solo voice and basso continuo, consisting of several movements, written for alternatively soprano, alto, tenor and bass. It is music of great beauty, expressing the emotional content of the text, from repentance to joy, from intimacy to exultation.
Excellent performances by 4 Italian soloists and the instrumental ensemble Astrarium Consort, led by Carlo Centemeri, who already successfully recorded for Brilliant Classics chamber music by Bassani (BC94259) and Albinoni (BC94852). Centemeri wrote himself the scholarly liner notes.