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.
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
Text & Translation
Altus (Paul Elliott)
Dixit in corde meo: Vadam, et affluam dedictus, et frurar bonis. Magnificavi opera mea, ædificavi mihi domus, plantavi vineas, hotos et pomaria, et extruxi piscinas aquarum ad irrigandas silvas lignorum germinantium. Et vidi quod essent omnia vanitas et afflictio spiritus.
Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.
Omnia vanitas, vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.
I said to my heart: I should go and enjoy all delights, and use good things. I exalted my works, built palaces, planted vineyards, orchards and gardens, and built reservoirs of water to irrigate the forests of budding plants. And I found true that all these were vanities and affliction of the spirit.
Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
All is vanity, vanity of vanities, all is vanity.
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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