Ondřej Macek & Alexander Stipsits met in March 2020 at the Clare Nuns Monastery in Český Krumlov to discuss the effects of the recently announced Covid 19 shutdown. As all Perfomances, indeed all gatherings had been cancelled indefinitely they wondered how to continue their artistic collaboration.
Weighing the options, they decided that Culture needed to continue, Music had to still be performed, and that this may just be the perfect time to play, and even record in silence for others to enjoy, wherever they may be. The Program selected is a historic reflection of the present. It consists of Music not heard since the 17th Century and was never recorded before.
The ‘Lamentationes Jeremiae Prophetae’ originated over 2000 Years ago. They represent some of the finest Hebrew Poetry. In them the Prophet mourns the destruction of the Temple in 586BC, and to this day they are being recited at the Wailing Wall.
During the Middle Ages the Lamentations became an intrinsic part of the Catholic Easter Liturgy. In the middle of the 15th Century the first polyphonic interpretations appeared, and during the Baroque Epoche in Naples this evocative form was especially cherished. Practically every Neapolitan composer of note set the Lamentations to Music.
Cristofaro Caresana (ca. 1640-1709) composed the versions presented here. Despite having been almost completely forgotten in recent times he ranks among the very best of his period, and beyond.
Ondrej Macek & CulturaProfonda aim to rediscover, revive and share more of the essential body of work of this remarkable composer.
Although he was born in Venice, all of his compositional work is associated with Naples. From 1658 he worked as a tenor, organist, composer, and maestro di cappella at Naples’ most important music institutions (opera company Febi Armonici, Conservatorio di S. Onofrio, Cappella del Tesoro di S. Gennaro, Real Cappella di Palazzo). In addition, he was a member of the Congregation of Oratorians (Congregazione dell’Oratorio dei Girolamini), which in the 17th and 18th centuries was one of Naples’ most important supporters of the cultivation of sacred music.
The Congregation’s archives (Biblioteca dei Girolamini) still contain Caresana’s autograph manuscripts dated between 1659 and 1709. Although Caresana fell into almost complete oblivion after his death, his more than 200 surviving compositions, mostly spiritual, prove that he, together with Francesco Provenzale, may be considered among the most prominent representatives of the Neapolitan Seicento.