This month’s Handel Gloria for soprano, two violins, and basso continuo is a newly-discovered find at the Royal Academy of Music’s library in London. The manuscript- not in Handel’s hand but bound in a collection of Handel arias owned by singer William Savage- was left to the Academy by his student RJS Stevens on his death in 1837. Handel may have composed it during his early years in Germany prior to his departure for Italy. Handel later borrowed music from this Gloria for use in the Laudate pueri dominum and Utrecht Jubilate.
In 1769, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart was appointed Konzertmeister at the Salzburg Court by the Archbishop. Beginning that same year, Mozart and his father made three tours of Italy, where the young composer studied Italian opera and produced two successful efforts, Mitridate and Lucio Silla. In 1773, Mozart was back in Austria, where he spent most of the next few years composing. He wrote all his violin concertos between 1774 and 1777, as well as Masses, symphonies, and chamber works. Among these was this Divertimento in Bb Major (K. 137), the second of which is known as the “Salzburg Symphonies,” though it is only scored for strings.
Here are Elizabeth Blumenstock and Patricia Ahern, violins, Elizabeth Holzman, viola, John Mark Rozendaal, cello, and Jerry Fuller, double bass, playing Mozart’s Divertimento in Bb Major, K. 137.
Today we are exploring music for the viol consort, featuring a seldom-heard composer, Christopher Simpson.
Simpson was born between 1602 and 1606, at Egton, Yorkshire. He was the eldest son of the manager of a theatre company patronized by wealthy Yorkshire Catholics. Very few of Simpson’s musical compositions appeared in print during his lifetime except those included as examples in his books. A small number of his compositions also survive in manuscript form, such as two sets of fantasias entitled The Monthes and The Seasons, which both consist of one treble and two bass viol parts.
All his surviving instrumental works are for viol ensembles or for the solo viol, an instrument about which he wrote, “a viol in the hands of an excellent viol player may no doubt be reckon’d amongst the best of musical instruments. To play extempore to a ground is the highest perfection of it”.
In addition to Simpson’s The Monthes, we will hear Fantasia VIII by Giovanni Coprario, and La Bernardina by Josquin des Prez. Performing is the Viol Consort: Liam Byrne, Joelle Morton and Erica Rubis.
Today we will listen to a performance of an unusual instrument, the hurdy-gurdy. It’s a stringed instrument that produces sound via a crank-turned rosined wheel that acts at the bow. Notes are played by a keyboard that presses small wood wedges against the strings to change their pitch. The hurdy-gurdy sound is characterized by several drone strings, creating a sound similar to a violin and the bagpipes.
Jacques-Christophe Naudot, born in 1690, was a French composer, typesetter, and flutist. Most of his compositions were published in Paris between 1726 and 1740, and his most well-known work is the opus 17 No. 5 flute concerto. The poet Denesle wrote a book called “Syrinx, ou l’origine de la flutte”, which was dedicated in part to Naudot and published in 1739. “Babioles” or “baubles”, published about 1750, are duets by Naudot, suitable for hurdy gurdies or bagpipes.
In this performance of Iile Babiole and Menuets I and II, we’ll hear Robert Green playing the hurdy-gurdy.
Born in 1667, Michel Pignolet de Monteclair made his way to Paris in 1697, professional essay writing service and by 1699 was playing the basse de violon in the Paris Opera and gaining renown as a teacher. Acknowledged as one of the most important composers of the post-Lully generation, his stage works influenced Jean Phillipe Rameau’s orchestration and dramatic music. He gave a more prominent role to his obbligato instruments than any other composer of cantatas before his time, as evidenced by the use of totally independent bass lines. In fact, his music to La Triomphe de la Constance features extensive substantive solo passages for the bass viol.
Today we’re excerpting from the Monteverdi opera Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria. The Return of Ulysses to His Country is an opera consisting of a prologue and five acts to an Italian libretto by Giacomo Badoaro, based on the final portion of Homer’s Odyssey. It was Claudio Monteverdi’s first opera for Venice, and had a very successful run of ten performances at the Teatro Santi Giovanni e Paolo beginning in February 1640. The opera was then taken to the Teatro Guastavillani in Bologna, and in 1641 was revived again in Venice. The first modern revival was lead by Vincent d’Indy in Paris in 1925.
In this performance we’ll hear singers from the Chicago Opera Theater, who are joined by Ars Antigua for the Prologue and 10th scene from Act V.
Rizo Arellano, L’Humana Fragilita
David Young, Tempo
Kari Sorenson, Fortuna
Micaela Oeste, Amore
Melina Pineda, Penelope
Melina Pineda, Melanto
Edmundas Seilius, Eurimaco
Robert Burt, Iro
Jason Collins, Ulisse
Stephen Hargreaves, harpsichord
Craig Trompeter, violoncello
Jerry Fuller, violone
Today we’ll hear Rachel Barton Pine perform- not on her usual violin, but with a viola d’amore. This unusual instrument has fourteen strings, seven of which the player bows and seven that are not touched and ring sympathetically.
The first known mention of the name ‘viol d’amore’ appeared in John Evelyn’s diary on the 20th of November, 1679, who praised its ‘sweetness’ and ‘surprising sound’.
Rachel Barton Pine is joined in the WFMT studios in Chicago by Martha Perry and Garry Clarke, violins, William Bauer, viola, Pablo Mahave-Veglia, violoncello, Jerry Fuller, double bass, and Greg Hand, harpsichord. They’re playing one of seven concertos that Antonio Vivaldi wrote for the viola d’amore, in D Major.
Today we’re featuring music of Francesco Barsanti, born around 1690 in the Tuscan city of Lucca. This city was- and would be- a center of Italian culture for centuries, boasting such notable denizens as Luigi Boccherini and Giacomo Puccini.
In 1708, Barsanti ventured to Padova, where he had initially intended to pursue an education in the field of science. After keenly observing several concerts held at the university, Barsanti embarked on a composition career instead, focusing chiefly on music for the flute and the oboe. He spent many successful years in London as a noted flutist and oboist before venturing north to Scotland in 1735, where he lived for almost a decade and continued to compose.
Sonata in C Major – Francesco Barsanti (b. ca. 1690)
Adagio / Allegro /Largo / Presto
, recorder; Jerry Fuller, violone
Devon began her musical studies on the violin when she was five years old. Her interests turned to the viola seven months ago and she began taking lessons this past summer at age 15. She currently studies viola with Desiree Ruhstrat at the Music Institute of Chicago. Devon enjoys participating in the Midwest Young Artist Symphony Orchestra, chamber program, and Early Music Academy. Devon looks forward to attending the Aspen Music Festival this upcoming summer.
In this episode of Ars Antigua Presents (11 minutes), we’re celebrating Bach’s birthday on March 31st with a recording of his Trio in G Major, BWV 1039. Johann Sebastian Bach’s appointment as Kapellmeister at the city of Cöthen was basically a happy one, because his patron, the Prince of Cöthen, was a true music lover with a voracious appetite for instrumental music. In this post Bach had at his disposal a small but outstanding ensemble of musicians, which he used to perform all manner of secular music. These intensely expressive and often technically demanding, yet intimate, works have the usual texture of Bach’s instrumental sonatas, with two upper parts supported by a bass part.
In this music from the BWV 1039 trio sonata, we’ll hear Anita Miller Rieder, flute, Pablo Mahave-Veglia, violoncello, and Andrew Fredel, harpsichord.
In 1772, the 16-year-old Mozart was living in Salzburg and penned a trio of light instrumental works called “divertimenti” – a form highly popular in the later 18th century. Though scored only for strings, these three works have sometimes been called the “Salzburg symphonies.” Today we’re going to hear one of these, which the young composer graced with strongly sentimental melodies and verve throughout. The initial allegro movement speaks richly in the sonata allegro form, followed by a lyrical andante. In the final presto, Mozart shows his wit and sense of humor with two very contrasting themes.
Last month we featured the “Annunciation” violin sonata of Heinrich Biber; this month we feature his instrumental music that reflects on sacred themes. The Mystery Sonatas, also known as the Rosary Sonatas, constitute one of the virtuoso high points of Baroqueviolin literature, and the opening passacaglia fully displays Biber’s contrapuntally daring and technically demanding style of writing.
Never one to leave his faith far behind, Biber included a set of engravings with his manuscript that illustrated each piece; this passacaglia and its opening incipit depicts the Guardian Angel. Jin Kim performs this piece on violin on this month’s episode.