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The Sacred Music of Giovanni Battista Casali in C18 Rome with Peter Leech on 20th May 2023

May 20, 2023 @ 10:30 am - 5:00 pm

£20 – £25


Rome in the eighteenth century, far from being the backwater described in many scholarly narratives, was a cosmopolitan melting pot of cultural influences from all over Europe, where the palaces and private chapels of Cardinals from widespread lands resonated to the sound of instrumental and vocal music composed by the city’s numerous permanent or itinerant maestri. Likewise, Rome’s churches resounded with contemporary concertato choral settings in addition to the stile antico repertory perpetuated in the Sistine Chapel and papal basilicas. Depending on where they were employed, church composers had to be adept with many different techniques, whether in the form of imitative Palestrinian polyphony (though with much longer and more daring melodic constructs than would have been acceptable in the late 1500s), grand polychoral designs (often with orchestral accompaniment), or quasi-operatic, multi-movement masses akin to those performed in other European Catholic capitals such as Vienna, Madrid and Lisbon.

In the anglophone world, most of the church composers active in Rome after the death of Alessandro Scarlatti (1725) are unknown, unresearched and unperformed. Their music manuscripts languish in thousands of volumes held by Rome’s music archives, just waiting to be explored. One such composer is Giovanni Battista Casali, maestro at S Giovanni in Laterano and the Chiesa Nuova (with additional connections to many other churches) who is mentioned by countless scholars as a leading mid-century composer, teacher, and organist, yet few of his works are known (even in Rome today), other than a handful of motets and one or two masses. In the S Giovanni archives alone there are over 500 works attributed to him.

This workshop will explore a variety of settings by Casali, including unaccompanied motets for Lent and Advent, concertato Vespers psalms for organ and basso continuo (often with virtuoso solo content) and polychoral works. It will be a showcase of the breadth and depth of Casali’s contribution to sacred music in Rome, a field in which the workshop leader Peter Leech has been immersed for the better part of 20 years.

We will be performing with voices and bass instruments.

Peter Leech is a musician with diverse skills and interests, including late sixteenth-century continental polyphony, Catholic court musicians in seventeenth-century England, early Russian Orthodox church music, seventeenth-century instrumental music and the music of late Georgian and early nineteenth-century English composers. He has over 30 years experience as a choral and orchestral conductor, composer and musicologist.  www.peterleech.com

The Venue   Barnt Green is on the B4120 off the A441 Birmingham to Redditch road and close to junction 2 of the M42. There is limited parking at the church, but plenty of street parking. Refreshments served from 10.00.

The station is a five minute walk away.

Booking is now open – see below.

The Sacred Music of Giovanni Battista Casali in C18 Rome with Peter Leech on 20th May 2023


May 20, 2023
10:30 am - 5:00 pm
£20 – £25
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Peter Leech


Barnt Green Church Hall
The Parish Centre, Sandhills Road, Barnt Green
Birmingham, B45 8NR United Kingdom
View Venue Website

Online booking

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Please note that we can not take payment directly through this website, so you will need to pay us separately by cheque or bank transfer or Paypal – details in the form below.