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Very little is known about the Italian Baroque composer Domenico Zipoli, whose stately Elevazione became something of a classical music hit in the 1990s thanks to its exposure on Classic FM. Zipoli received lessons from some of the best composers of his day – not least Alessandro Scarlatti – but he wasn’t to remain in Italy for long. Music was, in one sense, only a hobby for Zipoli, for it was his calling as a Jesuit missionary that defined much of the composer’s life.
Since 1715, Zipoli had been the sole organist at the Jesuit church in Rome; he studied to become a catholic priest but, tragically, died from tuberculosis before he could become ordained. By that time, the composer had gained a considerable following in South American countries, where his choral music – all but forgotten now – was regularly performed.
Elevazione is scored for oboe, cello, organ and strings; its sedate pace and stately sound have guaranteed its use in both weddings and funerals in recent years. Since being championed by Classic FM, the piece has appeared on countless classical compilations over the last fifteen years although, still, Elevazione remains something of an enigma. Beyond its instrumentation, very little is known about the piece.
Robert Truman (cello); Consort of London; Robert Haydon-Clark (conductor). Sony BMG: 4800249.