For Music Saturday music by a little-known Baroque composer: Michelangelo Falvetti (1642–1692), who was an Italian Baroque composer as well as a Catholic priest. Falvetti was born in Melicuccà in Calabria, Southern Italy on December 29, 1642, but spent most of his life and musical career in Sicily. In 1670, he became Maestro di cappella in Palermo, and in 1679 founded the ‘Unione dei Musici’ in that city. In or around 1682 he moved to Messina where he was named Maestro di Cappella del Senato di Messina. Falvetti died in Messina in 1692.
He composed several operatic style oratorios, “Abel figura dell’agnello eucaristico” (1676), “La spada di Gedeone” (1678), “La Giuditta” (1680), “Il trionfo dell'anima” (1680s), “Il Nabucco” (1683), “Il sole fermato da Giosuè” (1692).
In this oratorio, ‘Il Diluvio Universale’ (The Universal Deluge), (1682) the four elements plead to God for man’s destruction, but death intervenes in his favour: Man will know the might of the flood only, and will finally be saved from the waters. In the tradition of Carissimi and Handel, the highly original music reflects Sicily, a hybrid land known for having combined the songs of East and West. The oratorio includes sung parts for Noah, Rad, Water, Death, Divine Justice, God, Human Nature. The recording here is with Leonardo García-Alarcón, La Cappella Mediterranea, Choeur de chambre de Namur. Ambronay 2011. The video includes French and English subtitles.
The painting above is Francis Danby’s “The Deluge” exhibited 1840 (Tate Gallery).