Carissimi - Vanitas Vanitatem Part 2: Cogitavi transferre animum ad sapientiam

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Though lacking the dramatic narrative that propels most of Carissimi's oratorios, Vanitas Vanitatum is nevertheless a tightly constructed and compelling meditation on the ephemeral nature of material pursuits. With it's highly structured architecture, clearly punctuated by ritornellli, Carissimi's effervescent and engaging oratorio belies its weighty subject matter of the transience of human existence. Here, the admonition to forego worldly pleasures for heavenly ones, a theme common in the spiritual literature of Counter Reformation Italy is communicated in a style only one step removed from the first operas.

Magnificat
Warren Stewart, artistic director

Catherine Webster, soprano
Jennifer Ellis Kampani, soprano
Paul Elliott, alto
Scott Whitaker, tenor
Peter Becker, bass
Rob Diggins, violin
Jolianne von Einem, violin
Warren Stewart, violoncello
David Tayler, theorbo
Hanneke van Proosdij, harpsichord, organ

lyrics

Text & English Translation

Cantus Primus (Catherine Webster)
Cogitavi transferre animum ad sapientiam, dedi cor meum et scirem prudentiam atque doctrinam ut stultitiam evitaren et viderem quod esset utilis filiis hominum numero dierum vitæ suæ, et cognovi quod in his quoque esset labor et afflictio spiritus.

Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.

Chorus
Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.

First Soprano
I meditated on dedicating my spirit to wisdom; I gave my heart to know prudence and the Doctrine so to avoid foolishness and sought what is useful to the sons of men to help them proceed with the days of their lives and I realized that even in this there is anxiety and affliction of the soul.

Vanity of vanities , all is vanity.

Chorus
Vanity of vanities , all is vanity.

credits

from Vanitas Vanitatem - Music of Carissimi's Rome, released November 1, 2004
Live recording at St. Gregory Nyssen Episcopal Church on September 24, 2004. Mark Lemaire & David Tayler, engineer; David Tayler, editing & mastering.

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Magnificat San Francisco, California

For 20 years Magnificat has explored the emotionally charged music of the 17th Century, each season bringing together an assembly of internationally recognized musicians to present innovative programs that inspire the imagination. With dramatic flair and sensitivity to historical context, Magnificat imbues each concert with an infectious joy and a delight in musical make-believe. ... more

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