Giovanni Battista Colonna (1637-95) spent most of his career in Bologna as maestro di cappella of the basilica of San Petronio. Since he had at his disposal this imposing building with its two choir organs, well known to lovers of the instrument, and its very generous acoustics, Colonna wrote a large number of sacred compositions for imposing vocal and instrumental forces. But, in a more intimate vein, he also devoted two collections to the repertory of ‘small motets’. The pieces recorded here come from the 1681 set of Motetti a due e tre voci (1681). They display a wide variety of formulas, combining traditional elements and innovative aspects that were to be further developed in the following generations. These gems are highly representative of the style of small motets that heralds the stile concertante. They are characterised by various combinations of voices
(from solo recitative to a mixture of vocal duets or trios in different scorings) and a broad range of formal structures bound up with the very nature of the texts.
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