Sunday, October 21, 2012

Here's the program and notes from our first concert in The Principal's Music Series at St. Michael's College. Madden Auditorium, Carr Hall, Room 100, 100 St. Joseph Street, Tuesday, October 23, 7:30pm. Lisa Wang will be doing the pre-concert talk.

Amo Christum                       Alessandro Grandi (1586-1630)

Nigra sum                                Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643)

Toccata Undicesimo from Il Quinto Libro   Giovanni Kapsberger (c.1580-1651)
O Maria                                   Barbara Strozzi (1619-77)

Nigra sum                                Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665)

O quam speciosa                     Grandi                                                      
Sonata – Op. 3 No. 5               Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)

Toccata Prima from Il Secondo Libro    Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
O Quam tu pulchra es               Grandi                                     

Volo Jesum                              Isabella Leonarda (1620-1704)

The title page of Monteverdi’s 1610 publication, from which his Nigra sum is taken, says the contents are ‘A Mass for six voices to the Most Holy Virgin for church choirs and Vespers to be sung by many, along with certain sacred concertos (or perhaps ‘consorts’ would be better) suitable for the chapels or chambers of princes.’ These sacred consorts, then, might be sung as a motet in place of part of the Ordinary of a Mass, or might replace an antiphon at Vespers, but were certainly performed at ‘house concerts’ for the great and the good. In fact, Monteverdi wrote to his opera librettist Striggio to explain why he couldn’t possibly get away to Mantua to work on Arianna. Apart from his duties at St. Mark’s Church, ‘there is the Most Illustrious Primicerius, for whom every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, I make music in a certain oratory of his, to which half the nobility come.’ This ‘Primicerius’ was Marc’Antonio Cornaro. The Cornaro Chapel in Santa Maria della Vittoria in Rome (the family had several Cardinals over the centuries) houses Bernini’s famous sculpture of the Ecstasy of St. Theresa, the marble expression of the ‘languishing of love’ so graphically depicted in Grandi’s O Quam tu pulchra es.

Alessandro Grandi was Monteverdi’s second-in-command at St. Mark’s. As well as secular song and church music for all combinations of from one to eight voices he published three books of motets ‘con sinfonie’ for two violins from which we present two pieces from this evening. All of his books of motets have between a fifth to over half of the texts from the Song of Solomon and others that use snippets and imagery from that book in free texts. Grandi’s Amo Christum sets a text put in the mouth of St. Agnes, who refused marriage to a mortal. Grandi quit St. Mark’s for his own maestroship at Santa Maria Maggiore in Bergamo, though it has been suggested he needed to move his large family out of expensive Venice. This proved to be a bad move, though, as the plague swept through the town next year, taking Grandi. He was replaced by Tarquinio Merula who was quickly dismissed for gross indecency.

So we have the sober workaholic Monteverdi, who was in minor orders, the family man Grandi and the altogether unsavory Merula. How can it be possible that the women composers on our program make an even starker contrast in their lifestyles?

Barbara Strozzi was the adopted and probably illegitimate daughter of Giulio Strozzi, who was another of Monteverdi’s librettists. The well connected young woman seems to have been a courtesan, though in early modern Italy the difference between that career and professional woman singer was very fine. A portrait of her shows her quite heavily made up and revealingly dressed and she participated and entertained at meetings of various intellectual academies in the best tradition of the hetaeras at the ancient symposiums these meetings imitated. Strozzi published a book of solo motets, which includes several to the Blessed Virgin, in 1655. She could not have been singing them herself in church; were these composed for the ‘chapels and chambers of princes’ then?

Isabella Leonarda spent almost all of her long life as an Ursuline nun rising to the position of superior at the Collegio di Sant'Orsola in Novara. As well as performing administrative duties she taught music at the convent, so we can imagine that her music would have been performed there, though her prints were dedicated to eminent princes like the Emperor Leopold and the Archbishop of Milan, usually as co-dedicatees with the Virgin Mary.

Corelli’s Opus 1 and Opus 3 sonatas are usually referred to as ‘Sonate da chiesa’ but the ‘for church’ designation appears nowhere on the title pages of those publications. The part books are labeled first violin, second violin, organ and ‘violone o arciliuto’ in the Roman prints, but the melodic bass part says ‘violone o tiorba’ when it was printed in Bologna a few years later. This ‘melodic’ bass part, though, has all the figures that tell the player what chords to play that the organ part has, in addition to the melodic licks and fugal entries the organ lacks. Presumably these figures are for the lute player, not the violone player. Corelli lived and worked in the household of Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili.

Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger was nicknamed ‘Il Tedesco della tiorba’. Born in Venice to a German nobleman, he moved to Rome as a young man and was patronized there by many of the princes of the church, worked in the household of Cardinal Barberini and set popes Clement XI and Urban VIII’s verses to music. One scholar has suggested the theorbo player’s toccatas (see the tablature and continuo part below) were influential on the far more famous works for keyboard by Frescobaldi, another Barberini employee.

Amo Christum
I love Christ, who renews my youth,
who with His blood adorns my cheeks. 
When I love Him, I am pure;
when I touch Him I am free from sin;
when I receive Him I am still a virgin.

I love Christ, who encircles my neck
with precious stone, who satisfies my soul with honey. 
When I love Him...

I love Christ, who overthrows
those who resist Him,
who frees me from the clutch of want. 
When I love Him...
I am pure, free from sin and a virgin.

Nigra sum (Monteverdi)
I am black but comely, daughters of Jerusalem. Therefore the king has delighted in me and brought me to his chamber and said to me: Arise, my love, and come.
For the winter is passed, the rain is over and gone; Flowers have appeared in our land, the time of pruning is at hand.

O quam speciosa
O how beautiful have you become,
O Mary, thou lovely, thou kindly,
O Mary, sweet rose.

O Mary, sweet rose,  pray for us
to Jesus Christ our Saviour,
that he may protect and free us.
O Mary, sweet rose, thou lovely,
thou kindly, thou beauteous, thou glorious mother.
O Mary, sweet rose. 

O Mary, sweet rose, pray for us
to Jesus Christ, Son of God,
to preserve us in God’s love,
thou beautiful, decorous one,
chosen mother of God. 
O Mary, sweet rose.  Alleluia

O Maria
O Mary, how lovely you are, how sweet, how beautiful, how lovely you are.

She covers the earth like a cloud, a risen light, unfailing, a flame of fire, the ark of the new covenant, a lily among thorns. The throne of Sion on high is placed on the heights of this cloud.

O Mary, how lovely you are, how sweet, how beautiful, how lovely you are.

Begotten before time, she has circled the arc of heaven on her own, she has plunged into the depths of hell, and she has walked among the waves of the sea. She has conformed the hearts of all to her virtue, and she delights in the heritage of the Lord.

She covers the earth like a cloud, a risen light, unfailing, a flame of fire, the ark of the new covenant, a lily among thorns. The throne of Sion on high is placed on the heights of this cloud.

O Mary, how lovely you are, how sweet, how beautiful, how lovely you are. Alleuia.

O Quam tu pulchra es
O how beautiful you are, my love, my dove, my pretty one. Your eyes are like a doves. Your hair is like a flock of goats.
Your teeth are like a flock of ewes ready for shearing. Come from Lebanon, come my love, my dove, my pretty one. O how beautiful you are, come. Arise my bride, arise my delight, arise my immaculate one. Arise and come, for I am sick with love.

Nigra sum (Merula)
I am dark but beautiful, daughters of Jerusalem.
Tell my beloved how strong is the fire of my affection,
how fierce is the flame of my love. 
I am dark but beautiful. 
Marvel at me you nations. Alleluia.

Volo Jesum
I desire the beloved Jesus,
I love the loving Christ,
and I sigh for him who calls
upon an upright spirit within me.
For Jesus is the true life of the lover who loves,
an infinite sweetness which satiates the heart
with the delights of the angels
and with the nectar of the saints.
Lamentation does not come into the soul.
If with Jesus it is content, ah, why do you not hasten,
irrational mankind, to my Jesus?
Why do you not avoid delay, that you may discover God?

Ah, come, fly, if you love yourselves, love God.
My dear beloved Jesus, I adore you,
I sigh after you, my hope is in you,
I breathe out my heart for you,
you who can restore me, my dear beloved Jesus.
You are sweet fire and flame,
burning my heart with sweet ardour,
and in the flames you are sweet hope.
A happy mountain of joys,
you are the wonder of love,
of the rivers and the flame,
the living fountain of Paradise.
O happy the one who loves you,
O blessed destiny of the heart.
You are sweet fire …

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’. A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years, this year MIO became Ensemble in Residence at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto (see the enclosed brochure for MIO concerts there). They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Renaissance Society of America, Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta and Toronto, the Kingston Opera Guild, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

The Reverend Lisa Wang holds degrees from the State University of New York (BA), the University of Toronto (MA, MDiv), and the University of London, England (PhD).  She has published in the areas of literature and theology, ecclesiology, and Biblical interpretation.  She currently teaches at the Faculty of Divinity, Trinity College, Toronto, and serves at the Cathedral Church of St James, Toronto.

Christopher Verrette has been a member of the violin section of Tafelmusik since 1993 and is a frequent soloist and leader with the orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University and contributed to the development of early music in the American Midwest as a founding member of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Voltaire, and as a guest director with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. He collaborates with many ensembles around North America, performing music from seven centuries on violin, viola, rebec, vielle and viola d’amore. He was concertmaster for a recording of rarely heard classical symphonies for an anthology soon to be released by Indiana University Press, and most recently collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream.

Patricia Ahern has a BA and BMus from Northwestern University, MMus from Indiana University, and performer diploma from the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland. She taught baroque violin at the Freiburg Conservatory in Germany and Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, and has given masterclasses at McGill, York University, Wilfrid Laurier, University of Windsor, Western, University of Wisconsin, Grand Valley State University, and University of Toronto. She has concertized throughout Canada, the U.S., Europe, Asia, Australia and South America and performed with Milwaukee Baroque, Ars Antigua, Chicago Opera Theater, Kingsbury Ensemble, Aradia, I Furiosi, Newberry Consort, Musica Pacifica, and the Carmel Bach Festival. Tricia has recorded for Sony, Naxos, and Analekta, and joined Tafelmusik in 2002.

Philip Fournier is the Organist & Director of Music at St. Vincent de Paul, served by the Fathers of the Toronto Oratory, and Director of the Oratory Children’s Choir. He is responsible for the Usus Antiquior, (Tridentine) Liturgy of the Oratory, and specializes in Gregorian Chant, which he studied at Solesmes with Dom Saulnier. He gives solo organ recitals regularly at the Oratory, is guest organist of the Toronto Tallis Choir, artistic director and continuo player of the St. Vincent’s Baroque Soloists, and is active as a composer. His organ and harpsichord teachers have included James David Christie at the College of the Holy Cross, Russell Saunders, Paul O’Dette & Arthur Haas at the Eastman School of Music, and Robert Clark & John Metz at Arizona State. Mr. Fournier was the first Organ Scholar of the College of the Holy Cross, Worcester USA, and was subsequently named a Fenwick Scholar, the highest academic honour given by the College. He was one of the recitalists of the Chapel Artists Series there in 2011. He won the Historical Organ in America competition in 1992 and performed at Arizona State University on the Paul Fritts organ, and was awarded a recital on the Flentrop instrument at Duke University. Mr. Fournier was Organist & Director of Music at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Portland Maine, from 2000-2007, during which time he founded the Cathedral Schola Cantorum for the restoration of Gregorian Chant and Renaissance Polyphony to the Stational Masses of the Diocese of Portland. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Here's the program and notes for the Saturday Oct. 6th concert at Heliconian Hall.  with Christopher Verrette and Justin Haynes

All lookes be pale                    Thomas Campion (1567-1620)
There is a Garden in her face   Robert Jones (c. 1577-1617)
So, so, leave off                       Alfonso Ferrabosco II (c. 1575-1628)
Romanesca                               Angelo Notari? (1566-1663)
Ahi, che s’accrese in me           Notari
Care charming sleep                 Robert Johnson (c. 1583-1634)
Three Masque Dances              Anon.
      Sir Francis Bacons Masque-Second of the Prince-The Second Witches Dance
Ben si qui mostra il Ciel            Cipriano di Rore (1515-65) arr. Notari
Was I to blame?                         Ferrabosco
Come my Celia                          Ferrabosco
Tis now dead night                    John Coprario (c. 1570-1626)
The Lady Banning her Almand John Sturt (d. 1625)
Galliard                                       Johnson


Three lyra viol pieces                 Thomas Ford (c. 1580-1648)
       And if you doe touch me ile crie-Forget me not- A pill to purge melancholie
Voi vedet’il mio mal                  Notari?
Ruggiero                                    Notari?
Unto the temple of thy beauty    Ford
Goe to bed sweete muze            Jones
Like Hermit poor                       Ferrabosco
Prelude-Mrs. Hoffmans Alman  Sturt
So parted you                             Coprario
Not full twelve years                  Ford
Ciaccona                                    Notari?

Most of the ink spilled on the subject of Henry Frederick, Prince of Wales necessarily deals with ‘what ifs’. He was born at Stirling Castle in 1594, before it was certain his father James VI of Scotland would accede to Elizabeth I’s English throne and died of typhoid in November 1612. Whether he could have avoided the clash with Parliament that ended with his brother’s beheading (Henry was described as an ‘obdurate Protestant’ so would not have provoked the puritans) is one of the ‘what-ifs’, but his one accomplishment, the setting up of his own household with a glittering array of musicians, shows that English music would have been very different had he lived.

Henry’s music teacher was Alfonso Ferrabosco II, whose father had been lutenist (and spy) to Elizabeth I. Ferrabosco the Younger partnered with the poet Ben Jonson in the production of masques, balletic entertainments which grew, in Italy and France, into court opera. With plots that patted the attendant aristocrats on the back these events also afforded the opportunity for the young prince to show off his dancing skills as a participant. He may have danced gracefully to the prince’s dance we present after chasing off the witches who danced in the grotesque anti-masque. The text of Come my Celia is not from a masque, but from Jonson’s play Volpone. So, so, leave off is by John Donne and Like Hermit poor is by Walter Raleigh.

Campion, another famous poet, added his voice to the outpouring of sermons, verse and song composed after Henry’s death. As well as his own song All lookes be pale, he wrote the words for a cycle of songs with music by John Coprario. These songs have texts which each take the point of view of members of the royal family, then Britain (a new political concept in 1612) and the World. We present the songs to Queen Anne (Tis now dead night) and Henry’s younger sister Elizabeth (So parted you). Check the brochure for our concert celebrating her wedding to a German prince in February 1613.

John, or even sometimes Giovanni Coprario was in fact John Cooper. The fashion for things Italianate was cultivated at Henry’s court and more widely but Henry snagged himself a real live Italian in the person of Angelo Notari of Padua. In 1613 Notari published a book of Musiche for accompaniment con Tiorba, a very early example of Italian baroque music in Londres. The Cacciniesque Ahi, che s’accrese in me is from that collection, as are the viola bastarda divisions on the Rore madrigal. A manuscript in Notari’s handwriting in the British Library contains the other aria and the two sets of violin ‘divisions’ on the Ruggiero and Romanesca bass lines.

Other composers working at Henry’s court include Robert Johnson, who wrote for Shakespeare’s theatre company. Care charming sleep is from Valentinian, a play by John Fletcher and shows the influence that Notari had. Lutenist John Sturt (no relation) ended up in Henry’s entourage after a long soujourn on the continent. Thomas Ford, like most of Henry’s musicians, went on to work for Henry’s little brother Charles, but published no more music. The dedication of Jones’s songbook Ultimum Vale printed opposite gives an idea of the sense of hope invested this promising young man and lets us imagine the loss felt after his passing.