Feast of Antonio Caldara (December 23)   Leave a comment

antonio-caldara

Above:  Antonio Caldara

Image in the Public Domain

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ANTONIO CALDARA (1670-DECEMBER 28, 1736)

Roman Catholic Composer and Musician

“Classic” is a much overused and misused word.  I roll my eyes whenever I hear or read about an “instant classic,” an oxymoron at least as annoying as “new tradition.”  A classic has become a classic by enduring the ravages of time, just as a tradition is inherently old.

The music of Antonio Caldara is classic.

Caldara, born in Venice in 1670, was a son of Giuseppe Caldara, a violinist.  Young Antonio learned several instruments, helped to found the Guild of St. Cecilia in 1687, and sang in the choir of St. Mark’s, Basilica.  Caldara left Venice in 1700 to become the kapellmeister at the court of Ferdinando Carlo, the Duke of Mantua.  Thus our saint accepted a position Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) had once held.  By 1709 Caldara worked in the same capacity for Francesco Maria Ruspoli, Prince of Cerveteri, at Rome.  There, in 1711, our saint married contralto Caterina Petrolli.  Five years later Caldara started his last position, at the imperial Hapsburg court at Vienna.  There he died, aged 66 years, on December 28, 1736.

The body of Caldara’s work included operas, sonatas, cantatas, and motets.  Unfortunately, many of his compositions have not survived.  Many of his works were secular, but many others were religious.  Certain subsequent great composers admired his skill and respected him.  These admirers included Johann Sebastian Bach, George Phillip Telemann, Franz Joseph Haydn, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig von Beethoven, and Johannes Brahms.  Caldara’s reputation among musicologists has become one of being among the greatest composers of liturgical music for the Roman Catholic Church.

I listen to our saint’s Missa Dolorosa and Christmas Cantata and agree.  I also listen to his Cello Sonatas and agree that he was among the greatest composers period.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 6, 2016 COMMON ERA

ALL SAINTS’ SUNDAY

THE FEAST OF CHRISTIAN GREGOR, FATHER OF MORAVIAN CHURCH MUSIC

THE FEAST OF GIOVANNI GABRIELI AND HANS LEO HASSLER, COMPOSERS AND ORGANISTS; AND CLAUDIO MONTEVERDI AND HEINRICH SCHUTZ, COMPOSERS AND MUSICIANS

THE FEAST OF SAINT THEOPHANE VENARD, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST, MISSIONARY, AND MARTYR IN VIETNAM

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM TEMPLE, ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY

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Eternal God, light of the world and Creator of all that is good and lovely:

We bless your name for inspiring Antonio Caldara and all those

who with music have filled us with desire and love for you;

through Jesus Christ our Savior, who with you and the Holy Spirit

lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 29:14b-19

Psalm 90:14-17

2 Corinthians 3:1-3

John 21:15-17, 24-25

–Adapted from Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 728

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