In Lamentarium, the first recording of our Reliquie di Roma series, we laid the four cornerstones for a 17th-century ‘Roman’ city of ladies with the tragic laments of Helen of Troy, Queen Artemisia, Mary Magdalene and the Virgin Mary. In this second recording we raise an edifice to St Catherine. Our ‘martyr drama’ in the form of an oratorio continues from here in rich and elaborate baroque style, with prolonged and agonising suffering and torture ultimately leading to Catherine’s sublime and victorious death. Lelio Orsini, one of Rome’s most eminent librettists, vividly conveyed the narrative in elegant poetry, which Marco Marazzoli dramatically and extravagantly enhanced in the full-scale Oratorio di Santa Caterina.
It was in 1975 that I first encountered Pasquini’s oratorio Cain e Abel in the Vatican Film Library at St Louis University (USA), when a fellow student showed me a copy of the manuscript. This chance discovery propelled my lifetime career as a lirone player, but more importantly fuelled an enduring interest in the instrument’s extraordinary repertoire and its fascinating cultural ambience. Thirty-five years later I have finally been able to realise the dream of recording, staging and filming a considerable amount of Rome’s vast and extraordinary repertoire for our series Reliquie di Roma. And in this second recording, it is with great satisfaction that we can finally share Cain’s lament with the musical public.