Graziani: Cantatas, op. 25

Floral design

Consortium Carissimi, Garrick Comeaux
Naxos 8.573257

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]his recording dates from 2014 and was intended to mark the 350th anniversary of the composer’s death. The full title of op. 25 is Musiche sagre e morali composte ad una, due, tre e quattro voci (published in 1678, 14 years after his death!), and for this project Consortium Carissimi have mustered four sopranos, and one each of mezzo, tenor and bass, as well as an archlute and theorbo (two players), viola da gamba, sackbut, harpsichord and organ (two players). Having been enthusiastic about their latest CD (also of Graziani), I’m afraid I must resort to type here; I simply do not but the idea of an ever-changing continuo soundscape, and I’m afraid the voices (especially – sorry, ladies – the sopranos) do not blend particularly well, especially when a leap from or to a high note is involved, and there are times when tuning becomes a serious concern, which is a pity as some of the music has the potential to be truly beautiful. Hopefully as their exploration of Graziani’s music progresses these issues will be addressed.

Brian Clark