Willaert: Vespro di Natale

Willaert: Complete Works, Volume 12
Vespro di Natale (Venezia, 1555)
I Piccoli Musici / Delitiæ Musicæ - Marco Longhini
Stradivarius 33373

Contents:

  1. Chant: Deus in adjutorium (voice)
    Domine ad adjuvandum me (boys' choir)
  2. A. Gabrieli: Intonazione dell'Ottavo tono (organ)
  3. Chant: Dixit Dominus (voice)
    Sede ad dextris (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Virgam virtutis (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
    Dominare in medio (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Juravit Dominus (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
    Judicabit in nationibus (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Gloria Patri (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
  4. Chant: Confitebor tibi (voice)
    In consilio justorum (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
    Confessio et magnificentia (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
    Memor erit (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
    Fidelia omnia (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
    Sanctum et terribile (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
    Gloria Patri (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ)
  5. Ricercare IX a tre voci (3 viols)
  6. Beatus vir qui timet (boys' choir, tenor solo)
    Potens in terra (4 voices, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Ex ortum est (4 voices, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    In memoria aeterna (4 voices, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Dispersit, dedit pauperibus (4 voices, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Gloria Patri (4 voices, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
  7. Chant: Jesu redemptor (voice)
  8. Hymnus: Tu lumen (voice, 4 viols, violone, harp)
  9. Chant: De profundis clamavi (voice)
    Domine exaudi (voice, 4 viols, violone, organ, harp)
    Si iniquitates (voice, 4 viols, violone, organ, harp)
    Sustinuit anima mea (voice, 4 viols, violone, organ, harp)
    Quia apud Dominim (voice, 4 viols, violone, organ, harp)
    Gloria Patri (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, organ, harp)
  10. Tecum principium in die (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Redemptionem misit (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Ex ortum est in tenebris (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Apud Dominum misericordia (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    De fructu ventris (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
  11. Chant: Memento Domine (voice)
    Sicut iuravit Domino (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Si dedero somnum (voice, 4 viols)
    Ecce audivimus eam (voice, 4 viols)
    Surge Domine (voice, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Propter David (voice, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Si custodierint filii tui (voice, 4 viols)
    Quoniam elegi Dominus (voice, 4 viols)
    Viduam eius benedicens (voice, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Illuc producam cornu David (voice, cornet, 3 sackbuts)
    Gloria Patri (4 voices, 4 viols, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
  12. Ricerare I a tre voci (cornet, 2 sackbuts)
  13. Antiphona: Hodie Christus natus est (boy's choir, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
  14. Chant: Dominus vobiscum (voice)
  15. Benedicamus (voice, 4 viols, harp)
  16. Chant: Magnificat (voice)
    Anima mea Dominum (boys' choir, 4 voices, 4 viols, viol, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Et exultavit spritus meus (4 voices, 4 viols, violone)
    Quia respexit humilitatem (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Quia fecit mihi magna (4 voices, 4 viols, violone)
    Et misericordia eius (boys' choir, harp)
    Fecit potentiam (4 voices, 4 viols, violone)
    Deposuit potentes (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Esurientes implevit bonis (3 voices, 3 viols, violone)
    Suscepit Israel puerum (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Sicut locutus est (4 voices, 4 viols, violone)
    Gloria Patri (boys' choir, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)
    Sicut erat (boys' choir, 4 voices, 4 viols, violone, cornet, 3 sackbuts, organ)

Performers: Paolo Costa (countertenor), Giovanni Caccamo (tenor), Marco Scavazza (baritone), Marcello Vargetto (bass), Ian Harrison (cornet, cornetto muto), Mauro Morini (sackbut), Errnes Giussani (sackbut), Massimo Cialfi (sackbut), Cristiano Contadin (viol), Teresina Croce (viol), Daniele Cernuto (viol), Fabio Conte (viol), Patxi Montero (violone), Marina Bonetti (harp), Francesco Moi (organ); Boys' Choir - I Piccoli Musici, Mario Mora (director of boy sopranos); Marco Longhini (overall director)

Playing time: 65'

Recording date: October 1998 (Verona)

Willaert was easily one of the most influential composers in 16th century Italy. Although born near Bruges in what is now the Netherlands, and spent a period studying with Jean Mouton in Paris, he spent most of his musical career in Italy. He first went to Ferrara in 1515, then established connections with the Papal Court in Rome, and then on to Venice in 1527 to be maestro di cappella at St. Mark's. It was from Venice that Willaert's influence radiated, helping to create the polychoral genres as well as establish strict influential work.

The present Christmas Vespers was published as such in 1555, and is consequently a direct precedent for Monteverdi's Vespers of 1610. The notes for the present release also emphasize the political role of Willaert's appointment and the Venetian style of this era, set as it was in contrast to that of Rome. Willaert was absolutely instrumental in developing this Venetian style, and with it the direction leading to Monteverdi. The differences with the austere Roman style are quite evident, especially in the present interpretation based on what is known of Venetian performances at the time, and give more than a hint of the future Baroque style. In this sense, it would be easy to argue that Willaert is actually the most important composer of his generation.

Chant portions are performed alternately in each track with the polyphonic sections as named. The entire production is essentially in alternating verses. The items marked "Hymnus" and "Antiphona" are Willaert's own compositions interspersed at appropriate points in this service, but not included in the original publication. The same is true of the instrumental "Intonazione" and ricercari.

This is recording is a part of a major series devoted to Willaert's surprisingly little-known output. The others thus far:

Willaert: Complete Works Vol. 1
Le Villanesche
Collegio Vocale / Strumentale Euterpe - Antonio Eros Negri
Stradivarius 33311
Willaert: Complete Works Vol. 2
Mottetti e Ricercari
Accademia della Selva - Luigi Collarile
Stradivarius "Dulcimer" 33656
Willaert: Complete Works, Volume 6
Intavolature dei Madrigali di Verdelot
Il Desiderio
Stradivarius 33325
Willaert: Complete Works, Volume 7
Willaert and his circle
Ricercari da Musica Nova (1540)
Lorenzini / Negri / Villani / Azzarelli
Stradivarius 33355
Willaert: Complete Works, Volume 11
Vespro della Beata Vergine
Collegio Vocale e Strumentale Euterpe - Antonio Eros Negri
Stradivarius 33326

It is unclear to me whether or not other volumes have been available in Italy but not in the US. I have seen no sign of them anywhere.

Other significant introductions to Willaert:

Willaert: Musica Nova — The Motets
Singer Pur
Oehms Classics 835 [CDx3]
Venetian Music for Double Choir
Willaert / Gabrieli
Ensemble Currende / Concerto Palatino - Erik Van Nevel
Accent 93101
Willaert: Villanelle / Chansons / Madrigali
Romanesque - Philippe Malfeyt
Ricercar 151145
Willaert: Missa Mente tota & Motets
Cinquecento
Hyperion 67749
Willaert: Missa Christus resurgens / Magnificat sexti toni / Ave Maria
Oxford Camerata - Jeremy Summerly
Naxos 8.553211

Finally, some other recordings by the present ensemble:

Verdelot: Missa Philomena Prævia
Ensemble Vocale e Strumentale Delitiæ Musicæ - Marco Longhini
Stradivarius 33405
Palestrina: Missa ex Cipriano de Rore
Ensemble Delitiæ Musicæ - Marco Longhini
Stradivarius 33423
Banchieri: Pazzia Senile / Saviezza Giovenile
Delitiæ Musicæ - Marco Longhini
Stradivarius 33518
Monteverdi: Madrigals, Book 1
Ch'ami la vita mia nel tuo bel nome
Delitiæ Musicæ - Marco Longhini
Naxos 8.555307
Gesualdo: Madrigals, Book 1
Delitæ Musicæ - Marco Longhini
Naxos 8.570548

And a citation leading to others for Longhini's previous group:

Monteverdi: Litanie / Mass a 4 / Magnificat
La Institutioni Harmoniche - Marco Longhini
Nuova Era 7118

To purchasing information for this disc.

To FAQ references to this recording.

To FAQ CD index page.

Todd M. McComb