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date: 20 August 2019

Grazianini, Caterina Benedictalocked

  • Suzanne G. Cusick


(fl early 18th century). Italian composer, active in Vienna. Nothing is known about Grazianini’s training or life. Her two surviving works are oratorios: S Gemignano vescovo e protettore di Modena (performed in 1705 and 1715; A-Wn 18.683) and S Teresa (date unknown; A-Wn 18.684). Both are in two parts, scored for four-part string orchestra and four soloists, and introduced by an Italian overture. The music exhibits the conventional early 18th-century spectrum of recitativo semplice, recitativo accompagnato, continuo and obbligato arias in ABA form, and ensembles. Grazianini seems to have been especially sensitive to the potential of using rhythm, syncopation and the relationship of an aria’s vocal line to its orchestral accompaniment as means to delineate character. The madness of the young girl Flavia (and her interest in sexual adventures) in S Gemignano is portrayed by the use in her vocal line of syncopation and of motivic material that is not derived from orchestral motifs. Similar devices portray St Teresa’s other-worldly sense of vocation. Possibly, these devices are also a means of constructing female character, for they are not applied to the music of the male characters: indeed, St Gemignano’s saintliness and apparent wisdom are portrayed by the very regularity and tight motivic unity of his arias....

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Vienna, Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Musiksammlung