Dreyer / Bertini / Granchi - Sacred Music | RECORD STORE DAY

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Known in his day as 'il Tedeschino' ('the little German fellow') Giovanni Filippo Maria Dreyer was born in Florence in 1703, and made a name for himself as a castrato soprano in opera houses across Italy and farther north: he enjoyed senior posts at theatres in Wroclaw and Prague before joining the imperial theatre in Moscow. By 1737 he had returned to his home city, where he joined a religious order at the Church of SS Annunziata and became it's maestro di capella. The library of SS Annunziata preserves the collection of Salmi Brevi à 4 voci con Strumenti (Short Psalms for four voices with Instruments) composed in 1740 and in part presented here for the first time. The style emulates the popular Neapolitan school of the time, pre-eminently represented by Pergolesi and Alessandro Scarlatti. The harmonic writing is broad, clear and expressive, such as to be appreciated by the general public and not only by a small circle of specialists. Also featured here the motet Verbum caro for two sopranos and continuo, and the more elaborate settings of Domine ad adjuvandum and Inno a 4 per San Filippo, both featuring arias interspersed with choral movements like a cantata. Like the Salmi Brevi, these pieces have never seen the light of day beyond the shelves of the library at SS Annunziata. Invited to research and perform them, the violinist and conductor Giacomo Benedetti has produced these stylish recordings with fellow Italian singers and instrumentalists schooled in historically informed performance practice, and the result is an attractive window onto music-making in the churches of Baroque Florence.