The Boydell Press, 2016
xii + 335pp, £65.00
ISBN 978 1 78327 086 6
[dropcap]I[/dropcap] wonder why Malta isn’t in the title. I was there in January last year and reviewed three concerts, one being at the Co-Cathedral of St John’s in Valletta. The Cathedral of St Paul is situated in Mdina, about an hour to the west. Both cathedrals must have been ideal for multi-choral works. The book is very vague about the relationship between them: did Zerafa supply music to both? Such information is very thin. In fact, the index has little to say about St John’s or St Paul’s.
Zerafa’s career began on 1 May 1735 when he was eight; he spent six years from 1738-44 learning his craft in Naples, before returning to Mdina. Much of the discussion of style must have come from that background. This is a thorough survey of his life and works (all ecclesiastical), with extensive comments on the scores, a bibliography and a thorough index. There is very little about his function in Mdina – I get the feeling that the author is more concerned with the galant style of Naples. Did Zerafa only compose for the church, or was his secular work left with a different organisation which hasn’t survived? If Zerafa produced most of his output for Mdina, are there aspects of it which differ from “Neapolitan style”? A quick read of the first and last chapters may well be all the non-specialist requires.
[iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-eu.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=GB&source=ss&ref=ss_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=infocentral-21&marketplace=amazon®ion=GB&placement=1783270861&asins=1783270861&linkId=&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”]
[iframe style=”width:120px;height:240px;” marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ scrolling=”no” frameborder=”0″ src=”//ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&OneJS=1&Operation=GetAdHtml&MarketPlace=US&source=ss&ref=as_ss_li_til&ad_type=product_link&tracking_id=earlymusicr04-20&marketplace=amazon®ion=US&placement=1783270861&asins=1783270861&linkId=76b4539cfe660fda306f1f8c39c8ebec&show_border=true&link_opens_in_new_window=true”]