Graziani Adae Oratorium, Filli Prodigi Oratorium & Five Motets

Consortium Carissimi, Garrick Comeaux
71:20
Naxos 8.573256

The two oratorios on this CD were published in the Garland series of facsimiles. As someone who has championed Graziani (and his Roman colleague, Foggia) for some time, it is always reassuring to hear performances that confirm the quality of this music – as the brief but informative note says, Graziani is “one of the best kept secrets of the early Italian Baroque”. I’m puzzled by the consecutive statements that Italian vocal music was usually performed one step below modern pitch, and that the performers have chosen to use A=415 as their pitch level. I imagine that going that extra semitone lower might have taken the edge (by which I’m being kind) off (especially) the soprano tone – some of their entries in imitative music (of which there is plenty, as Graziani is a skill contrapuntalist) are not the most accurate. That said, I admire the way the voices sing through phrases so that the hemiola cross rhythms are audible without being signposted or micromanaged by a director.

Brian Clark