Weser-Renaissance Bremen; Cordes, Manfred
Already during his lifetime Giacomo Carissimi was regarded as an esteemed composer and musician, not only in the music world of seventeenth-century Rome but also beyond this city. His numerous pupils did their special part to spread his fame. German musicians like Johann Kaspar Kerll, Johann Philipp Krieger, and Christoph Bernhard, who had stayed at the Collegium Germanicum while in Rome between 1650 and 1660 and were under Carissimi’s tutelage, contributed significantly to the Italian’s renown. Today Carissimi is also regarded as one of the most significant representatives of the new oratorio form. Some of his works have been transmitted with more than one title; most them are assigned the “Historia” label and treat the prophetic books of the Old Testament, including Ezekiel and Jonah, as well as the sapiential book of Job. Musicologists currently accept thirteen of these oratorio compositions as authentic works by Carissimi, who clearly preferred subjects from the Old Testament. The texts of the Latin oratorios are rarely taken word for word from the Vulgate but instead tend toward paraphrase. To make the action intelligible to the faithful and to enliven it for them, Carissimi employed a wide range of highly effective stylistic means.