Cantate Domino, recorded by legendary sound engineer Bertil Alving in 1976, is widely regarded as one of the greatest audiophile masterpieces ever recorded. Opening with Enrico Bossi's "Cantate Domino" for choir, organ, trumpets and trombones, the choral album includes a number of Swedish folk songs as well as pieces by Handel, Otto Olsson, and others. The famous reference record is now made even better with this new hi-definition release.
The anonymous Mass Cantate Domino for six voices (#1-4) is recorded in an incomplete set of part-books of about 1550, traditionally linked with Dunkeld Cathedral, but more likely originating in the collegiate chapel of Lincluden, Dumfriesshire. Much has had to be done to complete the music: the bass part is missing throughout and three other voices are more or less fragmentary towards the end. The style of the music is 'British decorative' of the earlier sixteenth century with its characteristic mixture of florid and imitative counterpoint. On closer examination, however, the work may be of Scottish origin: the music is directly related to the five-part Mass Fera pessima by Robert Carver, finest Scottish composer of sacred music in the early sixteenth century. I suggest that the present Mass is a reworking of about 1525 for six voices, possibly by Carver himself, of the earlier five-part composition: much thematic material is common to both works, though the six-part shows a more assured technical command. It is a cyclic Mass in the established tradition: each movement opens with the same head-motif and each is based on the same cantus firmus - a plainsong melody, as yet unidentified. Also, traditionally, the music has been arranged to alternate full and solo sections. It is an impressive work, and if by Carver - it is certainly very good Carver.
Recorded in 1987, this disc by Belgian conductor Philippe Herreweghe and the choral-instrumental ensemble La Chapelle Royale came in advance of most of the historical-performance recordings that have delved deeply into Bach's cantatas and their world. It was, in fact, the first digital recording of the Trauerode, BWV 198. Despite some competition, this remains an exemplary Bach performance, and it was a superb candidate for reissue in Harmonia Mundi's HM Gold greatest-hits series.
Early in 1709 Antonio Caldara became maestro di cappella to the Marchese Francesco Maria Ruspoli in Rome. If the appointment brought new stability to his personal life, it also inspired him to remarkable creative effort. The two cantatas recorded here afford only a brief glimpse into a veritable musical treasure chest, the legacy of the seven years he held sway over an array of entertainments given by one of Rome's most lavish patrons of the arts.
During his lifetime, from his Neapolitan years to his Spanish sojourn, Domenico Scarlatti cultivated the “cantata” genre, composing at least about sixty works – those of uncertain attribution and his Serenades excluded. Other cantatas are likely to emerge once the uncatalogued funds are systematically scanned. Since in those years the cantata was a genre on the wane, this high number is revealing of Scarlatti’s uninterrupted link with the baroque tradition, an age in which the cantata had reached its climax as an extremely refined genre, the place for daring experimentation, and exquisite writing, the appropriate gym for high craftsmanship, as expected by the elitist audience for which it was intended. The manuscripts date from 1699 to 1724.