Posts tagged ‘Arpeggiata’

April 18, 2014

music for Good Friday – Lamentu di Ghjesu

by ada

For today’s music let’s go back to the ancient Corsican tradition of performing the Passion story during the procession of Good Friday: Lamentu di Ghjesu, based upon the folia theme, which is probably the oldest known ostinato ground (a harmonical line played repeatedly while the player/singer improvises a melody upon it). I could write pages about its origin and use through the centuries* without making you understand what it actually is, so let’s make it really simple instead:

  1. You have a few bars long harmony line that goes on and on and on, always in the same way
  2. Try to sing the main music theme of Vangelis1492 upon it
  3. Does it fit?
    a) Yes, it does – congratulations, you have a folia!
    b) No, it does not
      • it must be some other ostinato line
      • sorry, you probably didn’t sing it properly, try it again

Christina Pluhar‘s band L’Arpeggiata has been lately accused in early music circles** with “popularizing” early music, but I’m not sure if this expression really fits what they do, and even if it does, I don’t mind it at all. Because, actually, that’s exactly what this music needs: to made be known and loved by as many people as just possible. And, a fact that most of these devoted and oh so critical early music players tend to forget: this kind of music was intended to be performed mostly by common people. Just for pleasure. With no higher purpose than to serve everyday life events and/or to entertain. It should be taken for what it is: popular music at its best. 

PS: While last year’s Good Friday music was the great classic Es ist vollbracht from the Johannespassion, the year before I posted another, very beautiful Corsican passion song on another ancient ostinato line: Maria (sopra la Carpinese).

* I’ve actually done this for one of my music theory courses at the university

** not that I’ve had anything to do with early music circles since my depression other than writing vague, very unprofessional music posts twice a year, haha

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June 16, 2012

music of the week – Monteverdi: Sì dolce è ‘l tormento

by ada

This song is on the Top Ten Forever-list of mine, and I am able to force it even into my Salzburg Early Music Composers series, despite of the fact that all Monteverdi has to do with Salzburg is that his opera L’Orfeo was performed here several times between 1614 and 1619, thank to Francesco Rasi, a famous tenor singer of the time, who sung its leading role at the first performance in 1607 in Mantua, and who brought the scores with him, when he fled to Salzburg in 1612 (after trying to murder his stepmother, ahem, those were the days, my friend, those were the days).

April 6, 2012

365/97

by ada

I could barely resist the idea of posting Es ist vollbracht from Johannespassion for Good Friday, because, well, quality is quality, and if baroque passion music then Bach über allem, but then I decided to show something entirely different: a traditional Corsican passion upon a tarantella ground from the 17th century, with some jazzy cornetto improvisation. This is an amazing genre, the 17th century Spanish and Italian variations upon a few bars long  harmonic structure. It is sort of the pop and rock of the Baroque. Some variations became really popular and well-known during the past centuries, like the famous folia or the bergamasca, and some harmonic lines never did it, like the ruggiero, but all of them are really cool and I do love this  improvisational and spontaneous art of making music. Arpeggiata performs it just perfectly.

So today’s music is Maria (sopra la Carpinese).

April 3, 2012

365/94

by ada

For every day of the Holy Week I decided to share a piece of music, written originally for this time of the year, mostly for the church  services. It is very difficult for me to choose from the huge amount of beautiful things that came to existence during the past few hundred years – even if I stick to the period I’m most familiar with, the late 17th and early 18th centuries, it means still too much of goodness to leave out. So I’ll try to avoid the very famous hits, like the Bach-Passions, and present some works of smaller composers or pieces less known.

Today’s music is Stabat Mater from Giovanni Felice Sances, an Italian baroque composer of the 17th century, who was among the first composers to write his melodies upon the so-called lament bass, an (often chromatically) descending tetrachord. In the presentation of Arpeggiata and Philippe Jaroussky, who, in my opinion, is one of the most talented early music performers nowadays.

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