© Angelo Palmieri

Vespers at San Vitale

Missa dolorosa
by Antonio Caldara

Coro Ecce Novum
Gamma Chorus

Arianna Lanci soprano
Daniela Pini mezzo-soprano
Michele Concato tenor
Alberto Bianchi Lanzoni bass

Faventia Ensemble
Roberto Noferini first violin
Paolo Rosetti bassoon
Chiara Cattani organ

conductor Silvia Biasini


Antonio Caldara (1670-1736)
Missa dolorosa
for soloists, choir, strings, and bassoon 
Sanctus – Benedictus
Agnus Dei

Despite being almost unknown, Caldara’s works reveal his talent for counterpoint and his melodic and expressive power. He composed Missa dolorosa in 1735 in honour of the Habsburg Emperor Charles VI. It is a missa solemnis and is, therefore, only performed on special religious occasions. Caldara added the epithet “dolorosa” [painful], referring to the celebration of the Septem Dolorum Beatae Mariae Virginis (Seven Sorrows of the Virgin May), whose Gradual begins with the words “Dolorosa et lacrimabilis es, Virgo Maria”, or to the elegiac nature of the mass, which was already defined by the E minor key. The sections of the Missa dolorosa are divided into units that mutually differ in tonality and metrics, structure and score. This mass combines various styles, perfectly alternating fugues, homorhythmic fragments and grand rhythmic episodes. This heterogeneous feature creates the continuous vigorous ascent of this highly expressive masterpiece.

Full programme “Vespers at San Vitale”