Lux Aeterna; Ein Salzburger Requiem
Voces Suaves; Concerto Scirocco
Outhere: Arcana ACAA470. 68’15
Stefano Bernardi (1577-1637) was born in Verona. He was an active member of the Accademia Filarmonica and became their Maestro della musica in 1606. He was appointed as Maestro di cappella at Verona Cathedral in 1611. In 1622 he became Court Kapellmeister to the Bishop of Breslau and Brixen, Archduke Carl Joseph. Following the Archduke’s death in 1624, Bernardi took up a similar post in Salzburg with the Prince-Bishop Paris von Lodron. Continue reading
Giovanni Croce: Motetti & Sacrae Cantiones
Voces Suaves & Concerto Scirocco
Outhere Music: Arcana A439. 52’19
Giovanni Croce (1557-1609) was a boy chorister in St Mark’s, Venice, becoming maestro di cappella there in 1603, a few years before his death. He was born in Chioggia on the Adriatic near Venice. He took holy orders in 1585, and appears to have been a priest, and possibly director of music, at Santa Maria Formosa while singing at St. Mark’s. His compositions provide a link between the Venetian Renaissance and the musical advances of Monteverdi. His music is constructionally and harmonically simpler than many other Venetian composers of his time, but includes examples of double chorus and echo effects within his rather conservative late Renaissance polyphony.
Croce: Motetti & Sacrae Cantiones
Voces Suaves, Concerto Scirocco
Arcana A439. 52’19
Giovanni Croce (also known as Il Chiozzotto) was a choirboy in St Mark’s Venice under Zarlino, eventually becoming maestro di cappella around six years before his death in 1609, four years before Monteverdi took up the same post. He was also connected to Santa Maria Formosa, possible as a priest as well as a singer. Although renowned in his own day, he has been overshadowed by his most illustrious predecessors and successors. His music is not as grand as the Gabrielli’s, or a refined as Monteverdi, although the influence of the former is clear, notably in his polychoral writing. Continue reading
Festival de Saintes
Abbaye aux Dames: la cité musicale, Saintes
14-22 July 2017
The Abbaye aux Dames was founded in 1047 by the Count of Anjou as a Benedictine abbey for women, usually of aristocratic origin. Around 1120, the Abbey church was altered and the spectacularly carved west end facade and bell tower were added. Internally, the Romanesque triple-aisled basilica was altered, rather inelegantly, by inserting two enormous domed cupolas into the original external walls, resulting in a bit of an architectural mess. After two major fires in the 17th century (which destroyed the cupolas), the church was restored, and impressive new convent buildings were added, with cells for 45 nuns. During the Revolution, the Abbey first became a prison (1792), and then a barracks (1808). In the 1920s, the Abbey complex was purchased by the town of Saintes. In the 1970s, restoration of the monastic buildings (abandoned since the war) was started and, in 1972, an annual Festival of Ancient Music was created, later becoming the Festival de Saintes. In 1988 the Abbey was launched as a cultural centre by President François Mitterrand, and in 2013 it became la cité musicale, housing a Conservatoire of Music and a range of year-round musical activities, including many for young people. The former nun’s cells now sleep visitors and guests of the Festival.
l’Arte del Madrigale
Ambronay Edition AMY308. 62’36
Music by Giaches de Wert, Agostini, Luzzaschi, Gastoldi, de Rore, Gesualdo, Monteverdi, Marenzio, Piccinini, Gonzaga.
Since 2013, Seconda Pratica has been involved with the Eemerging project (Emerging European Ensembles, part of the Creative Europe programme), a scheme that assists young early music ensembles. This recording is a part of their third year of support from Eemerging and the Ambronay European Baroque Academy. Like so many early music performers, Voces Suaves grew out of studies at that powerhouse of early music, the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis in Basle. It was founded in 2012 with 9 singers. The music features some of the perhaps lesser-known madrigal composers of the Renaissance, notably from the repertoire amongst the extraordinary artistic heritage the Este and Gonzaga courts in Ferrara and Mantua and in Florence. Continue reading