Giovanni Martino Cesare: Concerti Ecclesiastici, Libro Primo (1614). Motets for 1,2,3,4 or 5 Voices and Basso Continuo. Edited by Janet Hunt. 89 pages. $35.00 US. Link to SHOP

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Little is known about the life of Giovanni Martino Cesare (c.1590 in Udine? - February 6, 1667 in Munich). His name appears regularly in Munich court ledgers, where he enjoyed a reputation as a fine cornetto player. As such he was a well-travelled participant in the rich interchange of musicians and compositional styles between northern Italy and southern Germany during the first half of the seventeenth century. The Concerti Ecclesiastici is the second publication of three printed collections of Cesare’s music known to exist. The twenty motets are typical of their genre, exhibiting conservative harmonic treatment while rendering the sacred texts clearly and expressively. This edition was prepared from a set of part books housed in the Christ Church library, Oxford. These books may have been used by Queen Henrietta Maria’s chapel musicians while she and Charles I were in exile in the 1640’s.