Monday, January 12, 2015

Giuseppe Sarti - 'Now the Powers of Heaven' & Russian Icon Painters

"The Holy Trinity" by Russian painter Andrei Rublev
   Those of us in the West who have heard of the Italian composer Giuseppe Sarti  most likely know about him through the tribute paid by another composer: in Mozart's  Don Giovanni Don Juan listens to an air from  Sarti's opera Fra i due litiganti il terzo gode as the old rake enjoys his final dinner before being dragged off to Hell.
     Many of our Orthodox brethren know Sarti more directly: in 1785, the year before his music was show-cased in Mozart's opera, Sarti took up residence in Russia at the invitation of the Empress Catherine the Great.  There he composed not only operas, but also some magnificent sacred music for use in the Russian Orthodox Church.  The video below combines one of his best known sacred works, the breath-taking "Now The Powers of Heaven", with beautiful images of Russian icons: