Caresana: L’Adoratione de’ Maggi

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LABELS: Glossa
WORKS: L’Adoratione de’ Maggi
PERFORMER: I Turchini/Antonio Florio


Cristofaro Caresana, wedged between Monteverdi and Alessandro Scarlatti, is barely a footnote in Italian music history, yet this collection of Nativity cantatas suggests a richly colourful, dramatically inclined musical personality. Lucifer’s raging recitative in L’Adoratione de’ Maggi, for instance, is strongly operatic in flavour, yet the three-part ‘Coro dei Magi’ shows Caresana also capable of delicately interlocking lyrical writing.

The accompaniments are by a small chamber group including percussion, punchily evident in the opening two movements of La Veglia, and vocally Caresana uses five or six voices, individually or in combination. There is a quieter side to Caresana’s muse, as the languidly sleepy solo ‘Dormi o ninno’, with mellowly rocking, muted strings demonstrates.


Some of the finest singing comes from Maria Grazia Schiava, ripe and vibrant in the 1703 cantata Partenope. Antonio Florio directs the period instruments of I Turchini pliantly. This is a real discovery, eminently worthy of investigation. Terry Blain