Pamela Dellal, mezzo soprano


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Motet Notes

Alessandro Scarlatti: "Laetatus sum"

Italian Baroque composer Alessandro Scarlatti [1660-1725] is mostly known for his operas and chamber cantatas. His sacred music is given far less attention, and many of his compositions in this genre may cause some surprise as they are so different from his cantatas and oratorios. That goes in particular for the music he composed for use in Roman churches. Not unlike Bach’s situation, the church authorities didn’t approve of the concertante style, associated with opera, applied to music for the liturgy. As a result, Scarlatti turned to the stile antico of which Palestrina was the most prominent representative.

A setting of the first verse of Psalm 122, Laetatus sum exalts the Holy City, Jerusalem, and offers a universal prayer for peace and prosperity.  Musically, there are three motives that are tossed about freely and inventively; Scarlatti employs the stile antico compositional techniques of inversion, augmentation and retrograde.

©Ryan Turner