Giovanni Battista Martini (1706-1784)
Requiem - Missa Solemnis
Even nowadays Father Giovanni Battista Martini is only really well-known to music theorists and historians, collectors and teachers. Research by musicologists and interest on the part of performers only occasionally focuses on Father Martini as a composer of sacred and secular vocal music, but some of his instrumental works are sometimes performed. Contrary to general belief, the Franciscan monk composed a vast quantity of very varied music that ranged from solo motets, to instrumental concertos and music to accompany theatrical performances. This 18th century Italian composer fitted perfectly into the musical life of his times, a maestro di cappella attentive to church requirements and dedicated to the organ. Father Martini left us an incredible number of compositions for organ, practically all of which are bound in six autograph volumes are are conserved in the Civico Museo Bibliografico Musicale in Bologna, which bears his name. Martini’s two Masses for Organ, the Messa Solenne and the Messa per i Defunti (Solemn and Funeral Masses) adhere strictly to the liturgical practise of alternatim between the choir and the organ. The verses in them are only linked to the vocal part by their tonal similarity: there is no trace of the cantus firmus in them except in the sequence Dies Irae, which vaguely echoes the Gregorian chant.