CARLO RAINALDI (1611-1691)
Cantate, Duetti e Lamentazioni
The architect Carlo Rainaldi is unanimously considered by art historians to have been fourth in order of importance in baroque Rome, following Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Francesco Borromini and Pietro da Cortona. More recently, attention has turned to Rainaldi the musician, first brought to notice by Hans Joachim Marx toward the end of the 1960s. The cataloguing of his compositions is, on the other hand, much more recent and includes above all his secular cantatas for soprano and basso continuo (the devotional cantata Il Peccator contrito is an exception), together with two splendid duets and two dramatic Lamentationes for Holy Week. There are about twenty manuscripts in all, only a small portion of which are preserved in Rome; most are instead scattered throughout numerous other libraries in Italy and abroad. Many of these works have been both performed and published in critical editions, thanks to the tireless efforts of researchers such as Lorenzo Tozzi. Documents concerning the young Rainaldi’s musical education have not yet come to light. He may perhaps have studied with his father, but he was also quite possibly educated at the Collegio Romano by Virgilio Mazzocchi and even, more or less directly, by Carissimi (with whom he shares a certain stylistic affinity), for the latter taught for decades at the Collegio Germanico in S. Apollinare. Indeed, Carissimi was the foremost proponent of the secular cantata, a genre widely disseminated in Rome throughout the seventeenth century (and quickly tied to the literary trends of the Arcadia of Queen Christine of Sweden, who had converted to Catholicism and united her own academia of artists, poets and musicians at the Palazzo Riario).