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Paolino Vassallo was one of the most prominent Maltese composers, the first to move away consciously from the dominating Italian influence on Maltese music. After local music studies in Malta, in 1875 he left for Paris, where he remained for 10 years and continued his studies mainly with Ernest Guiraud and Jules Massenet. On his return to Malta in 1885, he founded in Valletta his extremely successful Music Institute. His students included the most important composers of the first half of the twentieth century, among them Domenico Anastasi, Giuseppe Caruana, Carlo Diacono, etc.
Vassallo composed both sacred and non-sacred music. His three operas, where Massenet’s example is quite evident, are very popular.
A concert version of the Grande Messa was first performed in the hall of the Public Library, Valletta, in 1889. He started working on the work while still in France. The music is richly melodious, with opulent orchestration. The soloists are treated predominantly as an ensemble group rather that as individuals and the Messa is dignified, grandiose and full of religious feelings.
The present release is again a result of the cooperation between APS Bank and Gega New Music House, an initiative which led to releasing seven CDs with Maltese music of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

Recorded in the Chapel of the Porziuncola House of the Franciscan Fathers, Malta, in December 2005


  • Track Listing

    Grande Messa

    [1] Introduction and Kyrie 9’16’’
    [2] Gloria in excelsis Deo 12’57’’
    [3] Credo 16’38’’
    [4] Sanctus and Benedictus 4’26’’
    [5] Agnus Dei 4’57’’
    DDD 48’16’’
  • Participating

    Soloists: Anita Saliba – soprano, Connie Frances Zerafa – mezzosoprano, Brian Cefai – tenor, Charles Vella Zarb – tenor, Alfred Camilleri – baritone,

    Alfred Buttigieg - bass

    The Collegium Musicum Choir and Orchestra

    Mario Bisazza, leader

    Dion Buhagia, conductor

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