The Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri invite you to a solemn celebration straight from the 18th-century Italian basilica, full of music so majestic that it is still breath-taking. ‘These sounds appeal strongly to the contemporary public, because they go straight to the soul,’ says Giulio Prandi, founder and conductor of the group. It is a programme about the victory of good over evil, about mercy and hope.
Pergolesi's Mass in D major, which just three years ago was completed like a patchwork from various manuscripts, had been forgotten for three centuries. The joyful mass in concert style expresses hope for the intervention of St Emygdius and the protection against earthquakes that plagued Naples at the time the work was created. The Coro e Orchestra Ghislieri is the first group that has recorded this mass (according to the then Neapolitan custom) consisting only of two sections - Kyrie and Gloria – following its performance after rediscovery; the work meets with an enthusiastic reception of the audience wherever it is presented. The Psalm Miserere by Niccolò Jommelli, composed for the Basilica of St Peter in Rome, expresses confidence in God's mercy. The Neapolitan artist interweaves polyphonic parts performed with the accompaniment of the organ with a one-part Gregorian chorale sung a cappella – this contrast has a strong impression on the listener, and despite the simplicity of the means used, Psalm 51 in Jommelli's setting is a masterpiece. In turn, the biblical text Dixit Dominus enjoys unflagging popularity among composers who always arrange it with panache, because it is the first psalm in vespers on Sundays and holidays.
Vivaldi was in his element while crafting the musical setting: in his music he combined power and violence with sweetness. He masterfully emphasised the value of the text talking about the victory of the Messiah and the final judgment –not as a frightening Armageddon, but the final triumph of a good, a happy ending to world history (Vivaldi marked the vigour of this moment with a suggestive part of trumpets). Fragments performed by a double eight-part choir dazzle with splendour in virtuoso duets, arias, and the final Amen – according to some one of the most moving Amens ever composed.