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 & English Translation
Cantus Secondus (Jennifer Ellis Kampani)
Feci mihi cantores et cantatrices, et delicias filiorum hominum, nec prohibui cor meum quin omni voluptate frueretur, et oblectaret se in his quæ præparaverum. Cunque me convertissemad omnia quæ feceram, vidi in omnibus vanitatem et afflictionem spiritus, et nihil permanere sub sole.
Vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.
Omnia vanitas, vanitas vanitatum et omnia vanitas.
I hired men and women singers and the delights of the sons and men and I did not deny myself enjoyment from my heart, or to lavish in all things I prepared. But looking on to all the things I had done, in all I saw vanity and affliction of the spirit, and that nothing lasts under the sun.
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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