Dreyer: Sacred Music

Dreyer: Sacred Music
Composer Giovanni Filippo Dreyer
Artist Rossana Bertini soprano
Elena Cecchi Fedi soprano
Le Tems Revient
Baroque Lumina
Giacomo Granchi concertmaster
Giacomo Benedetti conductor
Format 1 CD
Cat. number 96405
EAN code 5028421964058
Release April 2022

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About this release

World premiere recordings of psalms and hymns by a forgotten luminary of the Florentine Baroque.

Known in his day as ‘il Tedeschino’ (‘the little German fellow’) Giovanni Filippo Maria Dreyer was born in Florence in 1703, and made a name for himself as a castrato soprano in opera houses across Italy and farther north: he enjoyed senior posts at theatres in Wroclaw and Prague before joining the imperial theatre in Moscow. By 1737 he had returned to his home city, where he joined a religious order at the Church of SS Annunziata and became its maestro di capella.

The library of SS Annunziata preserves the collection of Salmi Brevi à 4 voci con Strumenti (Short Psalms for four voices with Instruments) composed in 1740 and in part presented here for the first time. The style emulates the popular Neapolitan school of the time, pre-eminently represented by Pergolesi and Alessandro Scarlatti. The harmonic writing is broad, clear and expressive, such as to be appreciated by the general public and not only by a small circle of specialists.

Also featured here the motet Verbum caro for two sopranos and continuo, and the more elaborate settings of Domine ad adjuvandum and Inno a 4 per San Filippo, both featuring arias interspersed with choral movements like a cantata. Like the Salmi Brevi, these pieces have never seen the light of day beyond the shelves of the library at SS Annunziata. Invited to research and perform them, the conductor Giacomo Benedetti has produced these stylish recordings with fellow Italian singers and instrumentalists schooled in historically informed performance practice, and the result is an attractive window onto music-making in the churches of Baroque Florence.

Giovanni Filippo Dreyer (1703-1772) was born in Florence, Italy. As a castrato soprano he sang in several productions in Rome in 1723, including Vivaldi's Ercole sul Termodonte, then in Lucca and Florence in Sarri's Didone abbandonata. For the carnival of 1725-26, Dreyer sang Albinoni's operas in Venice. In 1726 he moved to Wroclaw, Poland, where he stayed for a long time. It was not until 1739 that he continued on to Prague to perform on the stage of Count von Sporck. During this period his compositions were publicly presented, including the intermezzo Vespetta e Valesio of 1728. In Prague he then took part in Vivaldi's Agrippa. In 1731 Dreyer accepted an invitation to Moscow: the imperial court generously rewarded his musical services. In 1733-34 Dreyer moved, following the imperial court, to St Petersburg, and if his activities as a castrato remain unknown, he certainly took on the role of impresario, coming to Florence to hire musicians for Russia, passing through Dresden and Vienna. Upon his return to Florence he took up holy orders, and from that moment dedicated himself to composing sacred music.
In 1740 Dreyer composed an anthology of Salmi Brevi à 4 voci con Strumenti (Short Psalms for four voices with Instruments) whose autograph manuscript is conserved at Santissima Annunziata. The musical style of the eleven psalms (composed for vespers) is close to that of the Neapolitan school, with a distinction between the vocal part and the orchestral accompaniment. The harmonic writing is broad, clear and expressive, such as to be appreciated by the general public and not only by a small circle of specialists.
This beautiful new production is sung by sopranos Rossana Bertini and Elena Cecchi Fedi, the choir Le Tems Revient and the instrumental ensemble Baroque Luminis, conducted by Giacomo Benedetti.

Listening

Track list

Disk 1

  1. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Verbum caro a due soprani: I. Adagio
  2. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Verbum caro a due soprani: II. Allegro moderato
  3. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Domine ad adjuvandum a 4 con gloria a canto solo: I. Largo
  4. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Domine ad adjuvandum a 4 con gloria a canto solo: II. Affettuoso
  5. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Domine ad adjuvandum a 4 con gloria a canto solo: III. Sicut erat
  6. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Domine ad adjuvandum a 4 con gloria a canto solo: IV. Allegro
  7. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Inno a 4 voci per San Filippo: I. O Dive
  8. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Inno a 4 voci per San Filippo: II. Andante
  9. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Inno a 4 voci per San Filippo: III. Allegro
  10. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Inno a 4 voci per San Filippo: IV. Beata trinitas
  11. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: I. Domine
  12. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: II. Dixit
  13. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: III. Confitebor
  14. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: IV. Beatus
  15. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: V. Laudate pueri
  16. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: VI. Laetaus sum
  17. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: VII. Nisi dominus
  18. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: VIII. Lauda Jerusalem
  19. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: IX. Laudate dominum
  20. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: X. Credidi
  21. Giovanni Filippo Dreyer: Salmi brevi à 4 voci con strumenti: XI. Magnificat