A strikingly beautiful performance by Jordi Savall and his ensemble “Le Concert des Nations”, an orchestra with period instruments. Lachrimae Caravaggio – “Caravaggio’s tears”. Festival de Maguelone, 2012. It is a project by Jordi Savall involving musical and verbal illustration of seven paintings by the Renaissance Italian painter Michelangelo Caravaggio (Milan, 29 September 1571 – 18 July? 1610), related to the topic of death. Musical motifs interspersed with texts by the French novelist Dominique Fernandez, approximating the individual works of the painter. Caravaggio’s tears were written for the National Art Museum of Catalonia in Barcelona.

Savall – Lachrimae Caravaggio

Savall was inspired by a quote from Goethe about painting needing to have its bass continuo, and decided to follow it literally. Some of the works are homage to composers of the period such as Gesualdo (who also killed a man, by the way), Monteverdi and Trabaci – others are just created in the spirit of the Baroque. All are instrumental except for four short vocal sections by a member of Savall’s family – Ferran Savall.


The program is divided into seven “Statios” (stanzas) of four to five movements, each representing Savall’s take on seven works by Caravaggio. The music is composed by Jordi Savall (apart from the above adaptations of works by other composers). Some pieces are improvised by the musicians.

Statio I

  1. Cantus Caravaggio I
  2. 1 Lachrimae Tristes
  3. Deloratio I
  4. Planetus Caravaggio I
The Sacrifice of Isaac by Caravaggio
The Sacrifice of Isaac by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1590-1610).

Statio II

  1. Extasis
  2. Fantasia (adaptation from Carlo Gesualdo)
  3. 2 Lachrimae Invocantis
  4. Sinfonia di Guerra (adaptation from Claudio Monteverdi)
  5. Pugna & Damnatio
The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, Caravaggio
The Martyrdom of Saint Matthew, Michelangelo Caravaggio, 1599-1600

Statio III

  1. Imploratio
  2. Deploratio II
  3. Concentus (adaptation from Luigi Rossi)
  4. 3 Lachrimae Dolcissima
Madonna der Pilger by Caravaggio
Madonna der Pilger by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1604-1606)

Statio IV

  1. Durezze E Ligature (adaptation from Giovanni Maria Trabaci)
  2. Passacaglia “Umbrae”
  3. Cantus Caravaggio II “O Lux”
  4. 4 Lachrimae Amara
The Deposition by Caravaggio
The Deposition by Caravaggio (1604)

Statio V

  1. Transitio
  2. Passacaglia “Libertas”
  3. 5 Lachrimae Dolente
  4. Deploratio III
  5. Consonanze Stravaganti (adaptation from Trabaciego)
Michelangelo Caravaggio - Death of the Virgin
Death of the Virgin by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1605-1506)

Statio VI

  1. Cantus Caravaggio III “Extempore”
  2. 6 Lachrimae Gementes
  3. Spiritum Morientis
  4. Liberatio
Beheading of John the Baptist by Caravaggio
Beheading of John the Baptist by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1608)

Statio VII

  1. Deploratio IV
  2. 7 Lachrimae Exultantes
  3. Planctus Caravaggio II
  4. Cantus Caravaggio IV “In Memoriam”
David with the head of Goliath by Caravaggio
David with the head of Goliath by Michelangelo Caravaggio (1607)

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