Buzza Premiering Long-Forgotten Venetian Sacred Music on March 2

The Grand Finale concert of the Cincinnati Early Music Festival | February 24, 2014

Since 2009, Xavier Music Adjunct Faculty member Scot Buzza has been researching unknown, unpublished, and unperformed works of Venetian sacred music from the 1700s. Most of these works exist only in a single manuscript copy, stored in archives and collections in Venice, Dresden, Paris, Munich, or Vienna. Buzza chose this as the focus of his Ph.D. research, and over the past few years has taken photographs and facsimiles of many of these works and created modern scores.

On Sunday, March 2nd, Buzza will conduct the first modern performance of seven of these works with Harmonia Sacra and chamber orchestra, as the Grand Finale concert for Cincinnati's 2014 Early Music Festival. Suzanne Bona of NPR's Sunday Baroque will also speak to the audience about the works and their history. The concert is free and open to the public.

About the performance:
La Serenissima: Sacred Music of the Venetian Settecento
Saint Timothy's Episcopal Church, 8101 Beechmont Ave, Cincinnati, OH 45255
Sunday, March 2nd @ 3:00 pm

The Grand Finale concert of the Early Music Festival will see the North American premier of seven long-forgotten works by Venetian composers of the Baroque. Cincinnati conductor and musicologist, Scot Buzza, has recently transcribed these unknown choral works from manuscripts found in Paris, Dresden and Venice. Be among the first people in 300 years to hear this gorgeous music, performed by Harmonia Sacra and accompanied by Baroque chamber orchestra!

The program will include Antonio Lotti’s Credo in F, Caldara’s Sinfonia and opening chorus to the sepulcro Gesù Cristo Condannato, Maurizio Cazzati’s O vos omnes, Baldassare Galuppi’s In convirtendo domine, Antonio Caldara’s Lauda Jerusalem, Ferdinando Bertoni’s Nisi Dominus, and the centerpiece of the concert: Galuppi’s extraordinary Passion for Good Friday for women’s chorus and continuo.

Cincinnati musician Suzanne Bona will speak to the audience about the history and significance of the works performed. Admission is free and open to the public.

About the works:

The centerpiece of the concert will be the extraordinary Passion for Good Friday , by Baldassare Galuppi. This piece, composed some time before 1750 for the women of the Ospedale dei Mendicanti, was written for four-part women’s chorus and continuo, with all solo parts sung by women, including Jesus and Pontius Pilate, a radical departure from church music of the time.

The program will also include these previously unknown works:

O Vos Omnes (early 1670s) – Maurizio Cazzati. This work for violins and voice is peculiar in that the text consists entirely of unrelated sentence fragments from the Latin Vulgate cobbled together with familiar Italian words.

Credo (early 1700s) – Antonio Lotti. This is the full Credo, from which the famous Crucifixus a 8 was extracted and published in 1860. The manuscript is in the Sächsische Landesbibliothek- Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek in Dresden. It is a charming example of an 18th century mass setting with instruments. Lotti’s use of dissonance in the vocal parts was startling to his contemporaries, but spectacular to modern ears.

Vesper Psalms: Lauda Jerusalem (between 1699 and 1707) – Antonio Caldara. This short work for choir, soloists and orchestra displays a much higher degree of virtuosity than found in earlier church music. Individual parts to this psalm survive in the Bayrische Staatsbibliothek, but no full score exists.

Sinfonia and Opening Chorus to Gesù Cristo Condannato (1717) - Antonio Caldara. This is an example of a sepolcro, a subgenre of oratorio that was performed exclusively in the Hapsburg Court once a year, on Good Friday. Fewer than fifty were written, and this work was performed only once. Caldara uses the orchestra to create a level of drama extraordinary for a sacred work.

Vespers Psalm: Nisi Dominus (1765) – Ferdinando Bertoni. This charming work for choir and orchestra shows an unusual mixture of Baroque counterpoint and classical gestures, combined with bravura vocal writing. In the original score appear the names of the two sopranos for whom it was intended: Laura Risegari and Theresia Almerigo, both of whom achieved international fame during their lifetimes, despite the fact that neither ever stepped beyond the walls of the Ospedale dei Mendicanti, where they lived and performed.

Vespers Psalm: In convertendo Dominus (1771) – Baldassare Galuppi. The individual parts to this work are housed in Venice, although no score exists. The music is at times light-hearted, at times fiery, and always full of the charm for which Galuppi was famous.