Vidi Lucifero:
Sacred Music of Antonio Bertali

8 vocal soloists, 2 cornetti, 5 trombones, 3 violins, 2 violas, violone, organ

 
 

Antonio Bertali (1605-1669) was known, next to his operas, for the monumental celebratory sacred works that he wrote as Kapellmeister at the Imperial Court in Vienna. His Missa Redemptoris à 21 and the Motet Vidi Luciferum are among the most spectacular examples. The motet is written as a battle piece with two virtuoso bass soloists in the roles of St. Michael and Lucifer. With its large instrumental and vocal forces, the motet is a perfect pendant to the similarly scored and brilliant Mass. Concerto Palatino combines these works with other instrumental works of Bertali and with a charming dialogue between Mary and a sinner by his contemporary Andreas Kern.

Watch our live stream of this concert from the Early Music Festival in Utrecht on YouTube:


O Crux Splendidior

7 vocal soloists, 3 cornetti, 5 trombones, theorbo, organ

 
 

The Chiesa del Redentore in Venice is a Palladian church whose construction was part of a feast of thanksgiving for the end of the plague in 1576, a plague which was the greatest civic catastrophe in modern history. Our program presents music connected with all stages of the conception, construction and dedication of the church, from the little-heard penitential Psalms of Andrea Gabrieli (including the motet O Crux Splendidior) to the spectacular large-scale polychoral works of Giovanni Gabrieli. 


Francesco Cavalli
Vespro della beata Vergine (1656)

8 vocal soloists, 2 violins, violone, 2 cornetti, 8 trombones, theorbo, organ

 
 

Cavalli’s sacred music has often been neglected in favor of his works for the stage, but his Vespers published in 1656 are a masterpiece which stands comparison with Monteverdi’s much more celebrated work of 1610. Concerto Palatino was the first modern ensemble to record and perform Cavalli’s Vespers and the reviews in 1996 were unanimous in their extravagant praise:

 

What we have here is an absolutely stunning release of music of an unjustly neglected composer. The name of Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676), the most important 17th century Venetian composer after Monteverdi, nowadays is of significance only to a handful of specialists, but in his own day he was perhaps the most celebrated composer in all Europe [...] Praise be to Bruce Dickey for researching, editing and bringing this wonderful music to light!

-Continuo, 1996


The effect, faultless and majestic as ever (Dickey surely remains without peer among cornettists), is well matched by some beautifully elegant string-playing, shown off to particularly good advantage not only in the Vespers sequence itself but also in a number of canzonas and sonatas that have been inserted, following contemporary practice, as antiphon substitutes. The overall effect is both stunning and revelatory, an authoritative reminder of the the quality of Cavalli’s sacred music, so often overlooked in favour of his work for the stage. This is a major recording achievement, sensitively realized in a warmly resonant acoustic that could almost be St Mark’s Basilica itself.

-Ian Fenlon in Early Music, 1996
 

 

In 2016 Concerto Palatino is excited to revive their historic interpretation of this 17th century masterpiece.


Musiche Frescobaldiane

8 male voices
cornetto, violin, 6 trombones, organ, theorbo, violone

Despite long years of service as organist in a variety of Roman churches, including the Cappella Giulia at St. Peter’s, Frescobaldi left no polychoral sacred music of unquestionable authenticity, though a surprising number of works with attributions of varying credibility circulated during the composer’s lifetime. Our program entitled Musiche Frescobaldiane features some of the most appealing examples of this music combined with motets by Palestrina, intended to underline the importance of Frescobaldi’s nearly lifelong relationship to the Cappella Giulia at St. Peter’s, where Palestrina had worked in the previous century. When Frescobaldi first came to the Cappella in 1608, its musical director, Francesco Soriano, was a former pupil of Palestrina. Handwritten copies of Palestrina’s music from the 17th century make it clear that his music continued to form an important part of the repertoire during Frescobaldi’s tenure, though the manner of its performance would surely have changed over time. Instrumentalists from the Campidoglio, violins, cornetti, and trombones, are known to have doubled vocal lines, and instrumentalists would surely have played divisions, since no motets were more popular as models in division manuals than those of Palestrina. Our program also features divisions by Bruce Dickey on Palestrina’s motet, Nigra sum sed formosa à 5.

Watch our live stream of this concert from the Early Music Festival in Utrecht on YouTube:


Il Sacro Convito Musicale di Ercole Porta, 1620
Sacred Banquet “comprised of different and varied spiritual courses”

5 singers
2 cornetti, 2 violins, 4 trombones, organ, theorbo

The basilica of San Petronio has always occupied a special place in the civic and liturgical life of the city of Bologna. By the beginning of the 17th century, with the addition of a spendid second organ by Baldassare Malamini of Cento and the appointment of Girolamo Giacobbi as Maestro di cappella, the musical chapel began to take on an importance which went far beyond the confines of the city, indeed far beyond the boundaries of Italy itself. Particularly in the area of concerted polychoral music, combining multiple choirs of voices and instruments, Bologna became an influential international center. One of the most skillful composers in this circle was Ercole Porta. The centerpiece of our program is his Missa secundi toni, a early masterpiece of concerted church music, combining florid and expressive vocal writing with an innovative use of instrumental timbres. The Mass will be heard surrounded by other examples of concerted vocal music by Porta and Bolognese con-temporaries Ascanio Trombetti, Ottavio Vernizzi and Giacobbi.


Fair Lady, Sweet Lord:
17th-Century Sacred Songs from Italy and Germany
with
Johannete Zomer, soprano

    cornetto, violin, trombone, violoncello, organ


Music of Maurizio Cazzati, Tarquinio Merula, Johann Hermann Schein, Heinrich Schütz, and others.

Fair Lady, Sweet Lord: Under this title, we have brought together a panorama of small-scale sacred songs of praise and devotion — songs from both sides of the Alps and spanning the first seven decades of the seventeenth century, from the Venice of Giovanni Gabrieli to the Dresden of Heinrich Schütz and the Bologna of Maurizio Cazzati. In the first half we explore Catholic songs of praise to the Virgin Mary, and in the second, Protestant songs in praise of Jesus. We invite you to join us on this musical tour of the spiritual landscape of 17th-century. It is music which brings the emotional directness of early Baroque singing to the expression of spiritual devotion and delight.


De Profundis:
Sacred Music for Bass and Wind Instruments, ca. 1580 - 1650
with
Harry van der Kamp, bass

2 cornetti, 4 trombones, organ, theorbo

Music of Francesco Usper, Simon Vesi, Tarquinio Merula, Heinrich Schütz, Andreas Hammerschmidt, Johann Rudolf Ahle, Thomas Selle, and others.

“De profundis - out of the depths”: We have given this title to a program featuring concerted solo music for bass voice and wind ensemble. In the late 16th and early 17th centuries the bass register was especially favored for virtuoso singing, and some of the greatest soloists of the new expressive Baroque style were basses. Though basses were cautioned to be prudent in the use of ornaments (since their part was the “foundation of all music”) these solo pieces often defy such admonitions, indulging in exuberant passage-work while at the same time showing great subtlety of expression.

No contemporary bass singer has more experience in singing this music, and none has more ability to express its pathos. This concert is a celebration of over 20 years of collaboration between Harry van der Kamp and Concerto Palatino.