THE UNIVERSITY OF ST. MICHAEL’S COLLEGE PRESENTS
Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater
The Musicians In Ordinary
Hallie Fishel-Soprano, Charlotte Burrage-Mezzo-Soprano
Led by Christopher Verrette
Victoria’s Tenebrae Responsories
St. Michael’s Schola Cantorum
Directed by Michael O’Connor
St. Basil’s Church, Mar. 25th 2013
Concerto Grosso Op. 6, No. 3 Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Tenebrae Responsories Tomás Luis de Victoria (1548–1611)
Eram quasi agnus-Animam meam dilectam-Caligaverunt oculi mei-Recessit pastor noster
Stabat Mater Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736)
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 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.
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 a recently released anthology by Indiana University Press, and most recently collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream.
Mezzo-Soprano Charlotte Burrage is a graduate of the University of Toronto with her Masters in Voice performance as well as the University of British Columbia’s Opera Diploma program. In 2011/2012, Charlotte toured with Vancouver Opera in Schools as Hansel in their production of Hansel and Gretel. In July she performed Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater in Italy with Kevin Mallon. Other operatic credits include Dorabella (Cosi fan tutte) with David Agler in the Opera as Theatre program in Banff, Alberta, Principessa (Suor Angelica) and Cendrillon (Cendrillon) with University of British Columbia, and the Old Maid (The Old Maid and the Thief) with Triptych Opera. Charlotte performed with Bramwell Tovey and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra in their traditional Christmas concert series, was a soloist with VSO and Conductor Arnie Roth in Distant Worlds: Music from Final Fantasy and was the alto soloist in the Bach Magnificat BWV 243 with Graeme Langager at the University of British Columbia. In the fall of 2012 Charlotte toured as Dorabella in Cosi fan tutte with Jeunesses Musicales Canada. Most recently she has been accepted into the Canadian Opera Company’s Ensemble studio.
Christopher Verrette, Elizabeth Loewen Andrews, Michelle Odorico
Kathleen Kajioka, Rezan Onen Lapointe
Emily Eng, Eleanor Verrette
St Michael’s Schola Cantorum is an ad hoc group drawn from staff, graduate and undergraduate students, faculty at the University of St Michael’s College, and members of St Basil’s parish choir.
Michael O’Connor has been Director of Music at St Basil’s Church since 2010, and is an Associate of the Royal School of Church Music. He teaches in the college programs at St Michael’s and runs a weekly singing club on campus. His academic scholarship and practical music-making overlap in the theory and practice of liturgical music.
Bernadette Domingo, Kara Dymond, Laurel-Ann Finn, Anna Lubinsky
Irene Chan, Brigid Elson, Irene Gaspar
Adam Miceli, Marcos Ramos
Eric Charron, Christian McConnell
Arcangelo Corelli was born in Fusignano, spent his early career in Bologna, but spent most of his mature years, from at least 1675, in Rome. Here he was in the service of Queen Christina of Sweden, and later was engaged by Cardinal Benedetto Pamphili as his music master at a monthly salary of ten Florentine piastres, plus room and board for him, Matteo Fornari, his companion and violin student, and a servant at cardinal's palace. When Pamphili moved to Bologna in 1690 Corelli moved into the household of Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, the 22-year-old nephew of Pope Alexander VIII (‘Nipote’, the root of our word ‘nepotism’, means ‘nephew.’) and great friend to artists. During this period Corelli also directed operatic performances in Naples.
Though his output was fairly small, it is impossible to overstate the influence Corelli’s music had on his contemporaries. Roger North, writing in the early 18th century said Corelli’s sonatas, at least ‘cleared the ground of all other sorts of musick whatsoever’ and ‘are to the musitians like the bread of life’ and helped ‘convert the English Musick intirely over from the French to the Italian taste’. The Twelve Concerti Grossi, Op. 6 were revised by Corelli in his last years and published in Amsterdam in 1714, the remuneration for the print going to the forementioned Fornari. The collection contains eight concerti da chiesa and four concerti da camera, which have dance movements and all have a small ‘concertino’ group of first and second violins, violoncello and a chordal instrument, alternating with the ‘grosso’ group ‘redoubling’ the parts.
Tomás Luis de Victoria was born in Avila, a younger contemporary of St Teresa of Ávila (1515–1582). He received his early musical education at the local cathedral before moving to Rome, where he was ordained priest and established himself as a foremost church musician. After twenty years serving a variety of Roman churches, he was called back to Spain to be chaplain to the Emperor’s sister. Victoria composed his Tenebrae Responsories in Rome for a series of Holy Week evening liturgies. Of the set of eighteen (published 1585), four will be sung in tonight’s concert. Drawn mainly from the prophets and psalms, the biblical words are placed in the mouth of Christ and his enemies, telling of his betrayal, suffering, and death. The final responsory, assigned for Holy Saturday, speaks of his descent into hell, breaking down the doors of the underworld, overthrowing Satan, and freeing Adam and Eve. Each responsory follows the same form: ABCB, where C is a trio for solo voices. Victoria’s music is spare, intense, and deeply felt. Responding to the drama of the Passion story, he paints pictures of innocence, desolation, tragedy, and treachery with a restrained palate and with the subtlest gestures.
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi was born in the Papal States and moved to Naples, by then an important centre of opera, at the tender age of 15. Here he became famous particularly as a composer of opera buffa, though he also wrote church music including a Mass, a Magnificat and, most famously in the 18th century, as well as now, his Stabat Mater.
Traditionally it has been said that the Stabat Mater was commissioned by the Confraternità dei Cavalieri di San Luigi di Palazzo to replace, or ‘soup up’ a similar setting by Alessandro Scarlatti, their former maestro di capella, which uses only two violins, soprano and alto soloists, and continuo. Scarlatti’s setting was performed on every Friday in Lent. Pergolesi wrote the Stabat in the spa town of Pozzuoli where he was trying, unsuccessfully, to recover from tuberculosis.
It is hard to tell how much the romantic tale of the young genius struggling to complete his masterwork as he coughed out his last breath played a part in the astonishing popularity the Stabat Mater had in the following decades. Bach adapted it for a German cantata, Alexander Pope wrote an ode to fit the music, versions for solo keyboard and even violin solo versions of the fugal movements were adapted. Perhaps it was the decline of castrato singers, particularly in church, in the early 19th century that inspired an arrangement for four-part male chorus. Certainly the 19th century operas on and a ‘biography’ of Pergolesi’s life contain much fiction.
The Stabat Mater imports from the opera a direct and dramatic harmonic vocabulary which had a great influence on the Classical style of Mozart and Haydn.
It is hard to know what forces would have been deployed for the Baroque music you hear tonight. The prefatory material for the Corelli and information from eyewitness Georg Muffat tells us that we could even do the ‘orchestral’ Concerti Grossi as a ‘perfect little trio’ with two violins and a bass, as long as the violins played loud when in the sections when the orchestra was supposed to be there. But Corelli also directed an orchestra as big as 80 players. The vocal parts would probably have been performed by castrati in church in the 18th century but none is cut out to be a singer of that kind today. Pergolesi specifies ‘primo choro organo contrabasso, secondo coro violoncello, leuto, contrabasso’ for the continuo of a Mass, and the archlute (arcileuto) was very popular in Rome and was used in the small concertino group.
Eram quasi agnus
I was like an innocent lamb. I was led to sacrifice, and did not know. My enemies plotted against me, saying: “Come, let us put wood into his bread, and drive him from the land of the living.” All my enemies plotted evil against me. Cruel words they spoke against me, saying: “Come...”
Animam meam dilectam
The life that I held dear I put into the hands of the unrighteous, and my inheritance has become for me like a lion in the forest. My enemy spoke out against me: “Come, gather together and hasten to devour him.” They placed me in a desolate wilderness, and all the earth mourned for me. For there was no one to acknowledge me or give me help. They rose up against me without mercy and did not spare my life.
Caligaverunt oculi mei
My eyes were blind with weeping; for he that consoled me is far from me. Consider, all you people, if there is any sorrow like my sorrow. All you who pass along this way, take heed and consider.
Recessit pastor noster
Our shepherd, the fount of living water, is gone, at his passing the sun grew dark: For even he is taken, who held the first mortal captive. Today our Saviour has burst the gates and bolts of death. The bounds of hell he has destroyed and overthrown the devil’s power.
Stood the Mother grieving
beside the cross, weeping
while on it hung her Son.
He whose soul, sighing,
saddened and suffering,
was pierced by the sword.
O, how sad and afflicted
was that blessed
Mother of an only Son!
Who mourned and grieved,
the pious Mother, looking at
her glorious Child’s torment.
Who is he that would not weep
if he saw the Mother of Christ
in such torment?
Who would not be saddened
contemplating the Mother of Christ
suffering with her Son?
For the sins of his people
she saw Jesus in torment
and to the scourge subjected.
She saw her sweet offspring
while He gave up his spirit.
O Mother, fountain of love,
make me feel the power of sorrow,
that I may grieve with you.
Cause my heart to burn
in loving Christ the God,
that I may please Him.
Holy Mother, may you do this:
of the Crucified one fix the wounds
in my heart securely.
Of your wounded offspring,
who deigned to suffer so much for me,
his pains with me share.
Let me sincerely weep with you
bemoan the Crucified, for as long as I live
for as long as I live.
Beside the cross with you to stand
and to join you in your weeping,
this I desire.
Virgin of virgins most exalted,
to me be not now bitter,
make me with you to lament.
Cause me to bear Christ’s death,
of passion make me to be a partner
and the injuries to recollect.
Let me be wounded with his wounds,
let me by the cross be inebriated
and your Son's blood.
Lest I burn, set afire by flames,
by you, Virgin, may I be defended
on the day of judgment.
Let me by the cross be guarded
by Christ's death armed
and by His grace nurtured.
When my body dies,
grant that to my soul is given
the glory of paradise. Amen.