A New Year’s Day Concert
Cantata - Risoluto son gia Antonio Caldara (1671-1736)
Sonata "Victori Der Christen" Heinrich Biber (1644-1704)
Der Türken Anmarsch-Der Türken Belägerung Der Stadt Wien-Der Türken Stürmen-Anmarsch Der Christen-Treffen Der Christen-Durchgang Der Türken Victori Der Christen
Per commando del mio bene Antonio Caldara
Aria in Modi Variata Wolfgang Ebner (1612-65)
Piéces in F# minor Jacques St. Luc (1616 – c. 1710)
Tombeau De Mr. François Ginter, Allemand-Courante-Sarabande -Menuet
Toccatina-Capriccio Ferdinand Richter (1651- 1711)
Cantata- All’ombra di sospetto Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
The Musicians in Ordinary
Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices dedicate themselves to the performance of early solo song and vocal chamber music. Soprano Hallie Fishel and lutenist John Edwards have been described as ‘winning performers of winning music’. Now in their 10th anniversary season of concerts in Toronto, they have concertized and lectured across North America at institutions ranging from the scholarly to those for a more general public: the Universities of Alberta and Toronto, Trent, Syracuse, York Universities, the Bata Shoe Museum and Artists in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Their CD Sleep Wayward Thoughts, Elizabethan and Jacobean music on the various facets of slumber, is available at intermission.
Christopher Verrette is in his 18th season as a member of Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, with which he is a frequent soloist and concert master both in Canada and abroad. He is a graduate of Indiana University, where he was awarded the first-ever Performer's Certificate for accomplishment on the Baroque violin and was a student of Stanley Ritchie. Since that time he has been committed to the growth of Early Music in the American Midwest as a founding member of Ensemble Voltaire (Indianapolis) and the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and has collaborated with numerous period-instrument ensembles around North America. In recent seasons he has played music from six centuries on violins, vielle, rebec, viola and viola d'amore. His recordings range from old favourites like Beethoven and Mozart symphonies and Pachelbel's Canon, to hitherto unrecorded sonatas by Bertali and other seventeenth century composers, new arrangements of Playford tunes on Throw the House out of the Windowe for Marquis records, John Welsman's score for the independent Canadian film The Limb Salesman, the soundtracks of Touchstone Pictures’ Casanova and CBC Television’s series The Tudors.
Recipient of the 2007 Montreal Baroque Prize for Audaciousness and Musicality, harpsichordist Sara-Anne Churchill is in demand as an orchestral player, chamber musician and soloist. She has recently appeared with I Furiosi Baroque Ensemble, Aradia Ensemble, Orchestra London, Niagara Symphony, Mississauga Symphony, The Musicians in Ordinary and Capella Intima. One of the first graduates of the new Advanced Certificate in Performance-Baroque Option, jointly offered by the University of Toronto and Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, Sara has also received instruction from Olivier Fortin, Skip Sempé, Richard Egarr, Carole Cerasi and Luc Beauséjour. While completing a Bachelor of Arts in Music at the University of Western Ontario she developed an intense interest in early music and historical keyboards and studied harpsichord with Sandra Mangsen. Sara completed a Masters of Arts in Musicology at UWO in 2006. Her thesis, a translation and commentary of a French baroque harpsichord continuo treatise, was later published in Performance Practice Review. She currently studies with Charlotte Nediger and is a candidate for the Doctorate of Musical Arts in Harpsichord Performance at the University of Toronto.
A New Year’s Day Concert
After a glut of Messiahs and other pre-Christmas concerts, the Toronto concert calendar listings, and particularly those on the Early Music calendar, get rather thin in the first weeks of the New Year. We offer again this year a selection of Viennese music as an alternative to the Blue Danubes and Tristch-Trastch Polkas of the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra’s New Year’s Day Concert and those of their imitators.
Antonio Caldara was born in Venice and was employed at St. Mark’s Church as a cellist. In 1708 he moved to Rome where he worked with Handel, Corelli and the Scarlattis. After Handel’s departure for England, Caldara followed him as Cardinal Ruspoli’s maestro di capella and in 1717 gained employment at the Imperial court in Vienna, where he was responsible for operas on the birthdays and name days of the Emperor and his consort, as well as other operas and sacred music. This enormous workload meant his salary peaked at a whopping 3900 florins, but he felt the need to supplement it by writing operas for the courts of other Austrian nobles. He is said to have died of a stroke brought on by exhaustion.
Curiously, the sonata celebrating the victory of the Imperial forces at the Siege of Vienna began life as a sonata depicting the Crucifixion composed by Biber. This rather astonishing re-application of a ‘program’ might have been made by the ‘Schmelzer’, to whom the piece is attributed in the manuscript, and who probably composed the last movement, not found in Biber’s sonata. Johann Schmelzer was a violinist at Vienna, but died before the siege, so perhaps his son Andreas was the adapter. The piece is written for scordatura violin. The three lower strings are tuned up a whole tone, but the music notates, not the pitches, but where the violinist is to put his fingers. For example, on a normally tuned violin placing the first finger on the second string gives B♭, but because it is tuned up, even though a B♭ is notated, it sounds as C. The violin part, then, looks like musical gibberish.
Ebner was the organist at Stephansdom, Vienna, and was associated with the Imperial court from 1637 until his death in 1665. He was obviously highly favoured since his salary was double that of the now more famous Froberger. Ebner began as the organist for the Kapelle and later became the Kapellmeister at the Cathedral and the official composer for the ballet. Most of his music was destroyed in World War II -- the best-known pieces that survive are the variations for harpsichord based on a theme by Emperor Ferdinand III himself. Hailing from Würzburg, Richter was recognized by Pachelbel as the greatest representative of south German keyboard music. Upon his appointment as court and chamber musician to Leopold, Richter taught two future emperors, as well as Leopold’s other children.
Italian plucked string players at the court included Orazio Clementi (theorbo and guitar) and Francesco Conti (theorbo and mandolin). These men played obbligato parts in operas. The theorbo, though we might think of it as the chordal part of the basso continuo group, was still much used as the melodic bass instrument, interchangeable with the cello or viol, well into the 18th century. It is in this role we use it in the cantatas. Lutenist Jacques Saint-Luc played the French baroque lute, which then had 11 pairs of strings and was tuned to an open d-minor chord, with basses tuned to whatever scale the piece required. His pieces show that multiculturalism flourished in the Holy Roman Empire, at least as far as matters concerning instrumental music. St. Luc was born in what is now Belgium, but was then the Hapsburg Netherlands. He came to Vienna, where he was employed by Prince Eugene of Savoy. His Tombeau on the death of François Ginter (Adam Franz Günter) is in the key favoured by French lutenists for tombeaux. The lack of open strings in F# minor gives the lute a covered quality.
Antonio Vivaldi visited Vienna on the many tours he undertook towards the end of his life, some with the singer Anna Girò. The presence of her sister as chaperone on these tours did nothing to stop gossip that Anna was his mistress, and in fact suggestions were made that the arrangement was even more scandalous than just that of an old priest sleeping with a young singer. Emperor Charles VI invited Vivaldi to come to Vienna and as Vivaldi’s music went out of fashion in Venice in his last years he picked up and moved to the Austrian capital. Before he could get established the Emperor died and a period of mourning meant a moratorium of public performances. Vivaldi himself died penniless the same year and was buried in Vienna in a pauper’s grave. His house was on the site of the hotel where Vienna’s famous Sachertorte is said to have been invented.
Risoluto son gia, tiranno amore
I am now determined, tyrant Love, to dissolve those bonds which held me a base prisoner for so long. My rational soul teaches me that you falsely betray every faithful heart. Now I am learning to scorn the proud disdain, which brought so much torment to this unfortunate soul Now your true worth awaits you, imminently. The heart will put bitter war before treasonous peace.
Arms, deceptions, arrows, chariot, you have wielded these, blind ingrate, against this injured heart. Standing firm always affects one so that fleeing with your passion, with triumph and away from fear.
That fearful panic that spurs the soul to flight in the face of danger is mostly submission, since it recognizes the greater of that which is the danger itself, and when the unexpected calamity arrives, it enters and tears apart the ill-defended breast, which it found already weakened, which the weapons of Love at last conquer. Better is burning courage than vile fear.
War, war, to arms, to arms! Thus shall I dare to advance into the palace of glory. My heart shall hold fast to that duty until either death or victory makes my valour worthy.
Sonata "Victori Der Christen"
Der Türken Anmarsch - Advance of the Turks
Der Türken Belägerung Der Stadt Wien-The Turks Besiege the city of Vienna
Der Türken Stürmen-The Turkish Assault
Anmarsch Der Christen-The Advance of the Christians
Treffen Der Christen-The Christian Engagement
Durchgang Der Türken-Withdrawl of the Turks
Victori Der Christen-Victory of the Christians
Per commando del mio bene
By order of my beloved, my heart languishes in a thousand sufferings, but my heart cannot endure so many injuries of guilt; It is immersed in a sea of troubles, every hope of salvation from such hardship, between help and constancy, is already lost.
Wretched! How did I sin? What did I do? If I deserved the suffering which pierces my heart, you stars, my enemies, say it, or say it yourself tyrannous Phyllis! Say it! But before you condemn me, cruel one, to such harsh martyrdom, to such heavy scorn, I protest to you and I swear to you that I am not, nor ever was, guilty. If before punishing me you had listened to me, you would know that my faithful heart could never offend you, cruel one, neither in thought, alas, nor in desire. Wretched! How did I sin? What did I do?
Innocence is worthless, faithfulness is useless, neither do I hope for pity from a thankless beauty. Cruel disdain and false pity fear constant and faithful love with cruel indifference and proud severity.
All’ombra di sospetto
From the shadow of suspicion, my constancy, suffering, loses somewhat its confidence, and to such beautiful allurement, some trust departs.
The heart is not accustomed to the bittersweetness of love, which soothes suffering with its fegned charm. Scorn will come to those who love passionately on impulse.
O, how many lovers, true and faithful, are deluded by shrewd flattery amid the chains of love. Many languish, and frequently blood is shed to prove true love. Formed from the ardor of charming beauty, the soul struggles each hour, and the derided lover is deceived again and again.
False happiness is the real torture of the loving follower. Merciless beauty has darts, those glances that waver with distress.