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Choral Works During Early Opera

In 17th-century Italy, many composers shied away from choral music. They saw this music as representative of an older Renaissance style while composers like Giulio Caccini, Jacopo Peri, and Claudio Monteverdi experimented with one or two voices with a simple instrumental accompaniment. But choral music still had a place in the many churches and synagogues throughout Italy. One of the greatest choral works of the 17th century comes from an oratorio, basically an opera on a sacred story, by Giacomo Carissimi. His oratorio “Historia di Jephte” as well as choral works by the Jewish composer Solomone Rossi and Bohemian composer Heinrich von Biber are included on the album Passion and Lament: Choral Masterworks of the 17th Century recorded by the Bach Sinfonia on the Dorian label.

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