The Cardinal King

The Cardinal King
Music for Henry Benedict Stuart in Rome, 1740-91
Cappella Fede, Harmonia Sacra, Peter Leech, Hazel Brooks
Toccata Classics TOCC 0300. 73’20 

Bolis: Cinque Assoluzzione: 1, 2, 5; Laudate pueri Dominum, Miserere, Letanie della Madonna Santissima; Zamboni Splende fredda lunaO memorie funeste, O come se’ gentile, Feritevi, ferite; Costanzi :Ave Maria; Tessarini: Allettamento Secondo & Terzo; Jommelli: Oculi omnium.

What a great CD, with the bonus of an fascinating back-story! It reflects the music of the exiled court in Rome of Henry Benedict Stuart (1725–1807) during the latter half of the 18th century. Henry Stuart is one of the most interesting characters in the complex world of 18th British politics, religion and royal succession. He was the grandson of deposed King James II of England (and VII of Scotland), son of the ‘Old Pretender’, brother of the ‘Young Pretender’ Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the last in the acknowledged direct line of Jacobite succession to the crown of Great Britain.By the time he was born, in Rome, the Crown had already passed to the German Hanoverians, despite there being more than 50 far better claimants to the throne in terms of blood relations to Queen Anne. But the British Parliament had passed a law preventing a Catholic from inheriting the throne. Unlike his father and brother, Henry Stuart made no active claim to the throne, although he was referred to by his own followers as King Henry IX of England and Ireland (and I of Scotland). Just after his birth he was created Duke of York in the Jacobite Peerage, and recognised as such in Catholic Europe but not in Great Britain. Continue reading