Album: Melani, Motets – Concerto Italiano/Alessandrini, Naive

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Long neglected in the archives of Santa Maria Maggiore and St John Lateran, Rome, Alessandro Melani’s exquisite motets for voices look back to the declamatory style of Mazzocchi and forward to the plangent polyphony of Domenico Scarlatti’s Stabat Mater.

Accompanied by two theorbos and a single organ, Rinaldo Alessandrini’s Concerto Italiano sing with a bright blend and easy coloratura. Polychoral contrasts are vivid in “Vivere sine te”, while the tutti entry on “Ora pro nobis” is dazzling.