Monteverdi – the smaller settings
the first of the greatest
After more than 400 years Claudio Monteverdi has maintained his reputation as one of the all-time most powerful and innovative musical creators. He mastered all of his times traditions, and his visionary harmonics, musical drama and instrumentation became the foundation for the later baroque music. Much younger Italian colleagues - here Marini, Uccellini and Buonamente loyally build on his achievements and experimented with the technical and expressive possibilities of the string instrument. And the opera as an art form almost did not exist before Monteverdi created the genre's first masterpiece: his "Orfeo" from 1607 at one stroke altered the history of music. His next opera, "Arianna", retells the myth of a girl brutally left on the island of Naxos by her lover. But her lament is all that has survived the passage of time - just three of Monteverdi's at least seven operas are preserved for posterity.
"Zefiro torna" is one of his most admired madrigals, wonderful sound imitations and amazing light shifts celebrate the return of spring with gentle winds. And the principle called "ciaccona" or "passacaglia" - a continued repeated bass melody - turns out not only here but appears again and again in this concert programme.
The evening's masterwork, “the Duel between Tancredi and Clorinda", uses a scene from Torquato Tasso’s “The Liberation of Jerusalem". Printed in 1581, it is one of history's most famous verse dramas, countless works within theater, art and music are based on this epic about how the first crusaders conquered Muslim control. The knight Tancredi falls in love with the infidel shieldmaiden Clorinda, but in a nightly duel they do not recognize they each other, and he wounds her mortally. He despairs, but before she exhale, Clorinda lets herself be baptized in the Christian faith. Monteverdi's depiction of the duel makes use of epoch-making new instruments as tremolo, pizzicato and strokes with the wood of the arch on the strings.
Dario Castello: Sonata Decima
Claudio Monteverdi: Prologue from L’Orfeo
Biagio Marini: Sonata La Monica
Claudio Monteverdi: Rosa del ciel, scene from Orfeo
Giov. Batt. Buonamente: Sonata seconda a tre violini
Claudio Monteverdi: Lamento d’Arianna
Giovanni Gabrieli: Sonata con tre violini
– – –
Biagio Marini: Sonata in eco con tre violini
Claudio Monteverdi: Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda
Biagio Marini: Passacaglia
Claudio Monteverdi: Pur ti miro from L'incoronazione di Poppea
Tarquinio Merula: Ciacona