Sunday, April 23, 2017

Vespers: Crucifixus

The choir of King's College, Cambridge, sings Antonio Lotti's "Crucifixus."

Crucifixus etiam pro nobis 
sub Pontio Pilato, 
passus et sepultus est.

He was crucified also for us 
under Pontius Pilate. 
He suffered and was buried.

Antonio Lotti (1667 – 1740) was an Italian Baroque composer. He wrote in a variety of forms, producing masses, cantatas, madrigals, around thirty operas, and instrumental music.

Some of his sacred choral works are unaccompanied (a cappella) but many of them are composed in the concertato style with strings, basso continuo, and occasionally oboes and trumpets. His more progressive works foreshadow the gallant style, considered a transition between the established Baroque and emerging Classical styles. Lotti is thought to have influenced Johann Sebastian Bach, George Frideric Handel, and Jan Dismas Zelenka, all of whom had copies of Lotti's mass, the Missa Sapientiae.

Lotti's sacred music is both firmly rooted in the developed harmonic language of the early 18th century and looks back very strongly to the contrapuntalism of 16th century prima prattica. His renowned eight-part "Crucifixus" (which is actually one of a series of settings of the text that Lotti wrote for between 5 and ten voices) is scored for a fairly fast-moving quasi-recitiativ style which is typically Baroque but it is also punctuated by cadential polyphonic passages which are firmly rooted in the older renaissance tradition.

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