Consortium Carissimi serves a unique niche within the United States as the primary resource to music transcriptions of Giacomo Carissimi.
Consortium Carissimi was founded in Rome, Italy in 1996, with the mission of uncovering and bringing to modern day ears, through live concerts, master classes, recordings and publications, the long-forgotten early Italian baroque music of the 16th and 17th centuries; exquisite instrumental music and excellent vocal music. Among the various types of music that flourished in Rome during the 16th and 17th century, the oratories of Giacomo Carissimi are examples of the most outstanding form of composition of that time. Consortium Carissimi bears the name of the famous composer, whose music was known for its simple, fresh new approach to text, melody and accompaniment. The unique strength that Consortium Carissimi provides is in the hearing of these long-forgotten and seemingly unattainable pieces, since much of this music has not been heard since the 17th century. Gaining permission for research and transcription, Founder and Artistic Director, Garrick Comeaux, transcribed over 100 manuscripts of operas, motets, cantatas and oratorios from libraries throughout Europe. These transcriptions include all of the known works of Carissimi as well fourteen additional composers that include Bernardo Pasquini, Bonifazio Graziani, Luigi Rossi, and Marco Marazzoli. With over 200 manuscripts in the collection, transcription of the entire library has not yet been completed and is considered an ongoing process. This repertory, wrongly forgotten and rarely heard today, offers examples of the high standard of musical creativity of this time. There are no autographs (documents written entirely in the handwriting of its author) of motet manuscripts of Giacomo Carissimi. Musicologists and musicians must rely on transcriptions of these beautiful pieces if there are to be heard. Consortium Carissimi connects to the community in four key ways: § Manuscript transcription and publication; Consortium Carissimi is the only organization in the United States that has in its library transcriptions of over 200 manuscripts of this time period, including the complete works of Giacomo Carissimi. § Educational programs; Consortium Carissimi conducts master classes with educational institutions, both in and out of state. Master classes include intense studies of vocal and instrumental practices of 17th century Rome. § Performances; The ensemble of mixed voices and instruments, based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, performs the repertoire of the Italian-Roman sacred and secular music of the 16th and 17th century. § Recordings; Consortium Carissimi extends public access to and knowledge of this musical tradition through digital recordings. Of great importance is the performance of sacred and secular music that is transcribed from manuscript or early print sources. Currently, there is no other organization in the United States that can provide music such as this. Consortium Carissimi has the opportunity to be a key partner within the Twin Cities' celebrated cultural community by providing sacred and secular music that has not been heard since the 17th Century, in beautifully acoustical environments with musicians that are skilled in the Italianate style of music-making. The Consortium’s unique commitment to the Italian works of the 16th and 17th has already garnered an international reputation through the Italy-based ensemble that consisted of three male vocal specialists, organ, theorbo and viola da gamba. Upon the foundation built by their Italian counterpart, the stateside ensemble has emerged, first performing in November of 2007, and now a sole-entity and gaining vibrancy and excitement all of its own.