Friday, October 30, 2015

The Principal’s Music Series at St. Michael’s College

The Musicians In Ordinary
for the Lutes and Voices


Fr. Madden Auditorium, Carr Hall
St. Michael’s College
Oct. 30th, 2015

Lecture 7:30PM, Concert 8PM

Prophetiae Sibyllarum             Orlando Lassus (1532-1594)
Ricercars for Lute                    Melchior Neusidler (1531-1590)

I. Sibylla Persica
II. Sibylla Libyca

Ricercar Terzo from Il secondo libro

III. Sibylla Delphica
IV. Sibylla Cimmeria

Ricercar Quarto Il primo libro

V. Sibylla Samia
VI. Sibylla Cumana

Ricercar Primo from Il secondo libro

VII. Sibylla Hellespontica
VIII. Sibylla Phrygia

Ricercar Secondo from Il secondo libro

IX. Sibylla Europaea
X. Sibylla Tyburtina

Ricercar Quarto from Il secondo libro

XI. Sibylla Erythreaea
XII. Sibylla Agrippa

The Musicians In Ordinary
Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices dedicate themselves to the performance of early solo song and vocal chamber music. Soprano Hallie Fishel and lutenist John Edwards have been described as ‘winning performers of winning music’. A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years, in 2012 MIO became Ensemble in Residence at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Shakespeare Society of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Shakespeare Association of America, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta, Toronto and at California at San Diego, the Kingston Opera Guild, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Praised for her ‘mellifluous yet clear’ singing [James Young, Music in Victoria], mezzo-soprano Rebecca Claborn has performed with a wide array of ensembles and conductors throughout North America. A graduate of the University of New Hampshire and the University of Alberta, Rebecca also studied at the University of Toronto, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, the Tafelmusik Baroque Summer Institute, and the Franz Schubert Institut in Austria. She has been a featured soloist with Edmonton’s Richard Eaton Singers, the Alberta Baroque Ensemble, the Victoria Baroque Players, the Ottawa Bach Choir, the Victoria Choral Society, the University of New Hampshire Concert Choir, the Pacific Baroque Orchestra, and the Theatre of Early Music, appearing on their recent releases on the Analekta label: The Heart’s Refuge (2014) and The Vale of Tears (2015).

Ben Kim is a composer and tenor Toronto. Originally hailing from Geoje, South Korea, he grew up playing the piano. It wasn't until in he joined a choir at the age of 20 that he started singing in earnest. As a singer, he has performed with various amateur and professional groups from the US and Canada. Currently, he is a member of St. James Cathedral Choir. As a composer, his music has been appreciated and performed throughout the world by many musicians and ensembles. Notably, his choral arrangement of a Korean folk song called Hangangsu Taryeong -- a "dissonant tone painting," as one reviewer put it -- was performed in Disney Hall by LA Master Chorale. His music is often described as eclectic or prismatic. He is published by Renforth Music in Canada, and earthsongs in the US.

Sean Nix has over 13 years of experience as a professional chorister in Southern Ontario, the United States and the United Kingdom.  He is an experienced section-lead and soloist with perfect pitch, low range (B two octaves below middle C), and boasts paramount sight-reading skills.  He currently serves as Bass Section Lead at St. Thomas’s Anglican Church, and sings regularly at The Oratory of St. Philip Neri, with Holy Blossom Temple Choir and with Lachan Jewish Chamber Choir, all in Toronto. Aside from music, Sean is a full-time Professor and Program Coordinator in the Transportation Engineering at Mohawk College in Hamilton.  He holds a Bachelor of Urban and Regional Planning and Master of Engineering in Civil Engineering, both from Ryerson University.  He is a Registered Professional Planner in Ontario.

Program Notes
Two times six ‘Modulating chromatic songs’ the introduction to Lassus’s music promises us.

At a first look at the original partbooks of this music, no doubt prepared as a very special presentation, ones breath is taken away by the sheer beauty of the decorative initial letters depicting the ancient Greek and Roman oracles and all that gold leaf. Once one has got over that a musician will notice that the music uses all seven of the clefs then in use. Modern singers read in two clefs, treble and bass, but different numbers in the ‘cantus’ part are notated in treble, soprano and alto clefs and the other parts are similarly various. Does this mean that Lassus wants different sybylls sung by different singers? Probably not. Notation conventions of the time mean that certain combinations of high clefs (treble for the top part, the now rare tenor or obsolete baritone clef for the bass) would transpose down a fourth. Less commonly used, and less clear about the distance to transpose, were combinations of low clefs which means to transpose up. By this means Lassus avoids using what then would have been extreme keys and accidental sharps and flats in his ‘chromatic songs’. A Renaissance singer’s skill set included transposing everything four notes down, but less so getting his head around accidental D flats.

Perhaps also Lassus is making a little puzzle for the recipient of the fancy manuscript to decipher from the introduction, pointing to the ‘secret music’ aspect of the work. Sometimes characterized as ‘motets’, that is to say, music most commonly used in church to replace bits of the Mass or Vespers liturgy, the texts, though in Latin, and style of the music wouldn’t seem to to fit into liturgical use. We therefore perform these pieces tonight with one singer on a part, rather than as choral music as it might more commonly be heard in our century. This heightens the ‘madrigalesque’ tricks Lassus employs with textures, text setting and word painting; ‘Solo’ sings the soprano alone, the other voices dropping out.

From the time that Dante was guided through Hell and Purgatory by the Roman poet Virgil, and as the Renaissance gathered steam, artists became desperate to claim all things Greek and Roman. Michelangelo popped a few of the Sibylls in among the Old Testament prophets on the Sistine Chapel ceiling. The lyre was elided in the Renaissance with the lute and famous lutenists were given honor as ‘the new Orpheus’ in almost every commendatory verse at the time.

Melchior Neusidler worked for a short time at the Imperial court (He got fired for eating meat in Lent.) sent lute pieces to Lassus’s patron the Duke of Bavaria but was mostly patronized by the extremely rich and music mad Fugger family in Augsburg. (They had become rich by lending money to the Habsburgs to secure the title Holy Roman Emperor.) Neusidler has left more lute music than any other German of the Renaissance, though much of it is in the difficult to decipher German tablature. Perhaps to escape an outbreak of the plague he visited Venice, the capital of music publishing, and had some of his works printed in Italian tablature. The Ricercars you hear tonight also appear in a French (letters instead of numbers) tablature anthology of the 1570s, but the editor had copied all of the numerous errors from the Italian print and added some new ones.

Modulating songs which you hear with a chromatic tenor,
these are they in which our twice-six sibyls once
sang with fearless mouth the secrets of salvation.

The son of a virgin mother shall sit on a crook-backed ass,
the joyful prince, the only one who can rightly bring
salvation to the fallen; but it will happen in those days that
many shall tell many prophecies of great labor.
But it is enough for the oracles to bring forth with a single word:
That great God shall be born of a chaste virgin.

Behold the days will come, at which time the immortal prince,
sowing abundant crops, shall take away their crimes from men,
whose synagogue will shine with new light;
he alone shall open the soiled lips of the accused,
he shall be just to all; let the king, holy, living for all ages,
recline his limbs in the bosom of the queen of the world.

He shall not come slowly (but this work must be held with
quiet thought), he who will ever store this in a mindful heart,
why his prophets may announce great joys of this
exalted one, who shall come forth conceived from the
virginal womb without taint of man. This conquers all
the works of nature: yet he has done this who governs all things.

In her tender years, distinguished with beauty, in honor
the holy virgin will feed the king of the eternal host
with her milk; through whom all things will rejoice
with uplifted heart, and in the east will shine
a marvelous star: Magi bringing their gifts with praise
shall present to the child myrrh, gold, Sabaean frankincense.

Behold, the joyful day which shall lift the black darkness
will soon come and unravel the knotty writings of the prophets
of the Judean tribe, as the people's songs tell.
They shall be able to touch this glorious ruler of the living,
whom an unstained virgin will nurture at a human breast.
This the heavens promise, this the glowing stars show.

Now my most recent words shall remain certain and true,
because they were the last oracles of the king to come,
Who, coming for the whole world with peace, shall be pleased,
as he intended, to be clothed fitly in our flesh,
humble in all things. He shall choose a chaste maiden for his
mother; she shall exceed all others in beauty.

Once while I was reflecting, I saw him adorn a maiden
with great honor (because she kept herself chaste);
She seemed worthy through his gift and divine authority
to give birth to a glorious offspring with great splendor:
the beautiful and true child of the highest Thunderer,
who would rule the world with peaceful authority

I myself saw the high God wishing to punish
the stupid men of the earth and the blind heart of the rebel.
And because crimes shall thus fill our skin,
God himself wished to send from heaven into the body
of a virgin his son, which the angel shall announce to the fostering mother,
so that he may raise the wretches from the uncleanness they have contracted.

From the body of a virgin shall come forth the pure
word eternal, who shall cross valleys and high mountains.
He, willingly sent even from starry Olympus,
will be sent into the world a pauper, who shall rule all creation
with silent power. Thus I believe and shall acknowledge in my heart:
He is the child of both divine and human seed.

The truthful God himself gave me these gifts of prophecy,
that I might proclaim in song the holy virgin
who shall conceive in Nazareth's bounds
that God whom Bethlehem's lands shall see in the flesh.
O most happy mother, worthy of Heaven,
who shall nurse such a child from her holy breast.

I behold the son of God, who sent himself from on high,
when the joyful days shall bring the last times.
He whom the comely virgin shall bear from the Hebrew lineage,
he who shall suffer much on earth from his tender years on,
he shall nevertheless be here a great seer in godly prophecy,
the son of a virgin mother, truthful and of a wise heart.

The highest and dearest shall be born in the flesh the son
of the true virgin, and the holy word shall fill the womb
of the maiden through the pure intention of the nurturing spirit;
although contemptible to many, he, for love of our salvation,
will censure the sins committed by our guilt;

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

View or download the St. Michael's College Michaelmas Concert program. 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

The Principal’s Music Series at St. Michael’s College

The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices


Fr. Madden Auditorium, Carr Hall, St. Michael’s College
Sep. 25th, 2015
Lecture 7:30PM, Concert 8PM

Jouyssance vous donneray      Claudin de Sermisy (c.1490-1562)
In illo tempore accesserunt   Jean Mouton (c.1459-1522)
La Magdalena, Basse danse P.B./    Pierre Blondeau? (fl.1520-1530s)
Gabrielem archangelum            Anon.
Pavane (Bel Fiore)/Sauterelle/     Blondeau?
Galliard (Romanesca)
Alma redemptoris Mater      Jacob Obrecht (1457/8-1505)
La Roque/Galliard         Blondeau?
O genitrix gloriosa     Loyset Compère (c.1445-1518)
Gentilz Galans                 Anon.
Prelude/Secoures moy/          Claudin/Blondeau?
Tant que vivray/Jouissance
Ave Maria            Josquin des Prez (c.1450-1521)
Pavane P.B./Sanserre, Basse dance/                  Blondeau?
Branle gay
Sicut lilium inter spinas              Antoine Brumel (c.1460-1512/3)

Please turn off your cell phones. No photos or recording please.
The Musicians In Ordinary
Named after the singers and lutenists who performed in the most intimate quarters of the Stuart monarchs’ palace, The Musicians In Ordinary for the Lutes and Voices dedicate themselves to the performance of early solo song and vocal chamber music. Soprano Hallie Fishel and lutenist John Edwards have been described as ‘winning performers of winning music’. A fixture on the Toronto early music scene for over 10 years, in 2012 MIO became Ensemble in Residence at St. Michael’s College in the University of Toronto. They have concertized across North America and lecture regularly at universities and museums. Institutions where MIO have performed range from the scholarly to those for a more general public and include the Shakespeare Society of America, the Renaissance Society of America, the Shakespeare Association of America, Grinnell College, the Universities of Alberta, Toronto and at California at San Diego, the Kingston Opera Guild, Syracuse, Trent and York Universities and the Bata Shoe Museum. They have been Ensemble in Residence at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.
Elisabeth Hetherington has performed as the soprano soloist Orpheus Choir, the Talisker Players, Toronto Masque Theatre, the Toronto Chamber Choir and the Elixir Baroque Ensemble. Last season she made her Opera Atelier début in their production of Alcina, and in 2012 played Countess Rosina in the Canadian premiere of Darius Milhaud's La Mère Coupable with the Summer Opera Lyric Theatre. In December 2010 she made her solo début with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Alain Trudel singing the role of Tilly in Howard Blake’s The Bear. She continues her education toward a Master's of Early Music Voice Performance degree at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam.

An oboist by profession, Gillian Howard also enjoys singing Early Music. She is a member of Schola Magdalena, a group of women dedicated to the performance of medieval vocal music, and has sung with the Gallery Choir at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene for longer than she can remember. In the past, she has performed with Aradia Ensemble and Studio Sixteen. Gillian holds Masters degrees in Historical Performance and in Musicology from the University of Toronto.

Winnipeg born mezzo soprano Laura McAlpine has been acclaimed for her ‘mellifluous singing and flashes of wit’ (Opera Canada), an ‘impressive voice that jumps off the stage’ (Classical 96.3 FM), and an ‘expressive voice with fine artistic sensibility’ (Whole Note Magazine). Laura was the alto soloist in the North American premiere of Krystof Maratka’s VABENI, for choir and orchestra with Peter Oundjian and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. In 2014, she sang in the world premiere of Christopher Mayo’s Under Dark Water, with Esprit Orchestra under the direction of Alex Pauk. Laura has also been a soloist with Victoria Symphony Orchestra and conductor Alain Trudel. Upcoming performances include, alto soloist in Handel’s Messiah, with the Elmer Iseler Singers, and Spirit Dreaming (Ravel’s Chanson Madécasses, and Sculthorpe’s Island Dreaming), with Talisker Players.

Christopher Jääskeläinen is a tenor, violinist, and recording engineer, originally from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario. He has been a member of the Kammermusik String Quartette, the St. James Singers, the Evestrum World Music Ensemble, the Goulais River Rats, and was also a TTC busker for two years. The Sault Symphony Orchestra has featured Chris as a soloist, both as a vocalist and a violinist. He was a choir lead with the Church of St. Timothy from 2004-2011, and a member of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale since 2004 and sings at the Anglican Cathedral of St. James.

Graham Robinson is a bass-baritone hailing from Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Receiving his Bachelors of Music in Voice at the University of Victoria, Graham was a much sought after soloist during his time in B.C. Now based in Toronto, he has been featured with the Elmer Iseler Singers, Tafelmusik, La Chapelle de Québec, the Elora Festival Singers, the Nathaniel Dett Chorale as well as many others. Graham is a devoted supporter and patron of aesthetics who strongly believes that creativity will take us anywhere we want to go. ‘Putting one’s soul into any discipline is art. It is in those times one learns to fly.’ When not making music Graham further extends his passion for the arts community through film and videography.
Program Notes
It would seem to be a great irony of the ‘historically informed performance movement’ that in trying to find just what voices and instruments were used in the early modern period it’s been discovered that they were much more open minded about switching, mixing and matching than we are. The title pages of printed books of Masses and motets tell that we can play them on viols if we like. ‘Viols’ might mean violins. ‘Viola’ might mean a lute. Lutes accompanied motets and Mass movements, and played them as solos. Was it a free for all back then?

We know that if we were hearing Autumn Leaves at a big dinner club in New York in the 1940s that in the big band there’d be a number of saxes in various sizes, a couple of trumpets and trombones, a piano, drums and bass and maybe a guitar. The sax players might double on flute, but rarely and as a special effect. There might be a clarinet, but not usually. If we went to a smaller club later for some after-hours cocktails the be-boppers would be an alto or tenor sax and/or a trumpet, piano, bass drums and maybe a guitar. French horn and a tuba may be heard on Miles Davis’s Birth of the Cool in the late 50s, but we wouldn’t hear them in a 40s club. So the scoring of a jazz standard in a given period is not specific, yet not just whoever turns up with a horn, and differs according to context.

The manuscript from which we perform music tonight would appear, from its contents, to be almost all church music, and so to be sung by a choir made up of men and boys. But its layout and the attractive decorations of initial letters show it is clearly not for the same purpose as the workaday candle wax and coffee stained partbooks of the men of a chapel choir. In this manuscript these motets, written to be inserted or replace parts of the liturgy, are for private chamber devotions. 

The manuscript is associated with the youth of the French princess Marguerite of Alençon and seems to have been given by her to Anne Boleyn when the young English girl was her lady in waiting, a common placement for courtly training for a well placed young woman at the time. Anne’s name and her diplomat father’s motto appear on one of the pages. The songbook’s contents seem to be tailored for the spiritual education of a young lady, with a large number of texts about the Virgin Mary, and emphasizing motherhood. (O genitrix gloriosa and Gabrielem Archangelum.) What teenage girl doesn’t like a love song? The manuscript includes several settings from the Song of Solomon, usually interpreted as adoration of the Virgin Mary. (We sing Sicut lilium), Even the drinking song Gentilz Galans (possibly added later) has a sacred and a feminine connection as the long suffering hostess is about to be stiffed for the bill with a Credo, both an IOU and a part of the Mass. Given Anne’s later effect on the marriage of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon we couldn’t resist the ‘let no man put asunder’ text. 
‘Make us a lute that is two steps higher than the viola you made for us, which we find a little low for our voice.’ Isabella d’Este ordered her instrument maker about the same time as this manuscript. To transpose up we use a little high-pitched lute like that being played by Mary Magdalene on the cover (The jar of ointment beside her is her emblem.). When one puts ones fingers in the same place as on a big lute, hey presto the music goes up to where women in a courtly living room might sing.

Jouyssance vous donneray
I will give you joy, my beloved,
and will lead you where your hopes incline.
While living, I will not leave you;
and still, when I am dead,
the spirit will have remembrance.

If about me you have doubts,
for you I have no less:
love should make you understand it.
But if it grieves you to be so, soothe your transfixed heart;
all who can wait come to the point.

In illo tempore accesserunt
The Pharisees also came unto him, tempting him, and saying unto him,
Is it lawful for a man to put away his wife for every cause?
And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, 

that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female,
And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother,
and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?
Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh.
What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

Gabrielem archangelum
We know the archangel Gabriel addressed you by divine knowledge, 
we discuss how your womb was impregnated by the Holy Spirit. 
Shame on the unfortunate Jew who said Christ was born from the seed of Joseph.
Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost.

Alma redemptoris Mater
Loving Mother of the Redeemer, who remains the gate by which we mortals enter heaven,
and star of the sea, help your fallen people who strive to rise:
You who gave birth, amazing nature, to your sacred Creator:
Virgin prior and following, taking from the mouth of Gabriel that Hail! have mercy on our sins.

O genitrix gloriosa
O glorious Parent, splendid Mother of God,be with child, without detriment to your virginity; and thus you shall be blessed, ever-virgin Mary.
Gentilz Galans
Dear gallant companions of the grape
Let us drink the same amount in the evening
and in the morning as a hundred drunkards/penny and Ho!
To our hostess, let us not give money
but an IOU/credo.

Ave Maria
Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you, serene Virgin.
Hail you whose conception,
full of solemn joy,
fills heaven and earth
with new happiness.
Hail you whose birth
was our solemn celebration,
like Lucifer the Eastern star
foretelling the rising of the true Sun.

Hail blessed humility,
fruitful without man,
you whose annunciation
has been our salvation.

Hail true virginity,
immaculate chastity,
whose purification
has been our cleansing.
Hail you most glorious among all
angelic virtues,
she whose assumption
has been our glorification.

O Mother of God,
remember me.

Sicut lilium inter spinas
As the lily among thorns,
so is my love among the daughters.
As the apple tree among the
trees of the woods, so is my beloved
among the sons.
I sat down under his shadow, whom I desired:
and his fruit was sweet to my taste.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Saturday, May 2, 2015

In Stile Moderno

May. 2, 2015, 8PM
Heliconian Hall, Toronto
In Stile Moderno
Lamento d’Arianna                     Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) with
Sonata decima sopra l’aria Romanesca   Salamone Rossi (ca. 1570-1630)
Quel sguardo sdegnosetto          Monteverdi
Ohimè se tanto amate               Rossi
Sonata sopra l’aria di Ruggiero   Rossi
Parlo, misero, o tacio?                Rossi
Maladetto s'ia l'aspetto                Monteverdi
L’Amata Aurelia                       Andrea Falconieri (ca.1585-1656)
La Desiderata
La Bella Marchesetta

Ed è pur dunque vero                Monteverdi
Sonata prima detta La Moderna  Rossi
Gagliarda settima detta L’Herba
Correnta settima
Brando secondo
Brando terzo
Anima del cor mio            Rossi
Si dolce e’l tormento           Monteverdi
Sonata in dialogo detta La Viena  Rossi
Tirsi mio, caro Tirsi              Rossi
Sonata duodecima sopra la Bergamasca   Rossi
Eri già tutta mia                   Monteverdi with

Program Notes

It’s hard to exaggerate the importance of the Mantuan court as a centre of innovation in the Renaissance and Baroque eras. It may be the place where the violin was invented; Isabella d’Este, Marchesa of Mantua in the early 1500s, wanted Apollo’s stringed instruments, rather than Pan’s winds, to accompany her dancing. She was also a great patron of Italian solo lute song, as opposed to the four or five part madrigal, the early composers of which were often Netherlandish.

It’s hard to tell, though, whether her great-grandson Duke Vincenzo Gonzaga, was more interested in music or lady singers. Vincenzo chased the famous singer Adriana Basile from one end of Italy to the other. There still exist books of poetry which were Basile’s, with guitar chord symbols, but no melody, providing, thus, a tantalizing glimpse of her repertoire. Perhaps the songs we present by Monteverdi this evening were sung by her, though some are from later sources. The excerpt from Si dolce e’l tormento below shows guitar chord symbols of the type found in her books above the staff, and a figured bass part for the theorbo, or chitarrone as it was sometimes called, or spinet.
But most publications of vocal music in Italy around 1600 were madrigals, usually for five voices. In 1600 Rossi published his Primo Libro which, it says on the title page, offers ‘madrigals for singing with the chitarrone, with its tablature opposite the soprano.’ The very dense chitarrone part is not much like the parts that could be improvised from the basses of, say, Caccini’s ‘new music’, published a year later, but instead resemble the keyboard accompaniments Luzzaschi provides in his music for the Concerto delle donne, the three virtuose employed at Ferrara.

The musical world was turning, then, from a five part texture to one of one or two or three high voices supported by a chitarrone or other chordal bass instrument. Rossi innovates again in instrumental music, publishing, in 1607, his Il primo libro delle sinfonie e gagliarde a tre, quatro, & a cinque voci for ‘two violins (he actually says ‘viole’ but the music is in violin range) or two cornetti, and a chitarrone or other chordal instrument’. Even the 5-part dances, though, are marked ‘for 5, or for 3 if you please’ in case you want to leave out the two violas.

The dance floor had been the violin’s main haunt for most of the 16th century and indeed, even before the violin’s development, Gugliemo Hebreo della Viola had been Isabella d’Este’s dance master. Though you will hear some of Rossi’s dance music, you will also hear, especially in the sonatas Moderna and Viena, the violin being emancipated from the dance. The sonata for two violins and a bass has, through Corelli to Handel and beyond its antecedents in Rossi’s books.

Like Isabella’s dance master Gugliemo, Rossi, too, was Jewish. He went for many years without a pay raise at the ducal court and it has been suggested this might have been prejudice at work. He seems to have been from a fairly successful merchant family, though, and used his court connections to obtain licenses and patronage for his family’s business. So perhaps he didn’t need the money. His sister, ‘Madama Europa’ as she was known, didn’t encounter any obstacles in her spectacular career as a court and early opera singer. Rossi is last heard of in Venice in 1628, putting a publication through the presses. It’s unknown if he stayed on quietly in Venice, went back to Mantua and died in 1630 in the destruction of the Jewish ghetto when Imperial troops invaded, or in the plague that ensued.

Monteverdi published his Quinto Libro di Madrigali in 1605, and some of the madrigals therein have a continuo part which allows two high voices to come out of the texture in the new baroque style. Perhaps he was following Rossi’s lead of publishing madrigals with some accompaniments. In 1608 Monteverdi’s opera L’Arianna was performed for Duke Vincenzo’s wedding. Only the Lamento has survived. We know the original was punctuated by a chorus of fishermen, but we have interpolated Rossi’s variations on the Romanesca bass as a ritornello, as might have been done in the early 17th century.

Falconieri was fed up with his lute job at Parma. After trousering his pre-paycheque in 1614, he seems to have run away to Mantua; a letter from the composer to the Duke specifies who is to sing some enclosed duets. A book of his instrumental music was published in Naples in 1650. Among the mostly Spanish titles (Naples was then a Spanish kingdom) are some Italian ones which have the more old fashioned two violins and continuo scoring, without a separate bass part. 

Lamento d’Arianna - Rinuccini
Let me die, Let me die!
Whom would you wish to comfort me
In such a hard fate,
In such a great suffering?
Let me die!

O Theseus, my Theseus!
For I want to call on you, since you are mine.
Though, alas, cruel man, you flee from my sight.
Turn back my Theseus,
Oh God, turn back and look once more upon her
Who abandoned her country and her kingdom for your sake.
And who now on these shores,
A prey to pitiless wild beasts,
Will leave her bare bones!
O Theseus, my Theseus!
If you knew, Oh God, alas the torment
Of miserable Ariadne, Perhaps, in remorse,
Even now you would turn back your prow  to shore.
But with gentle breezes you go happily on,
While I remain, weeping,
Athens prepares you greet you with joyful festivities,
While I remain, weeping, a prey to the wild beats of these lonely shores.
Both your aged parents will embrace you with joy
But I will see you no more, O mother, O  my father.

Where, where is the faith you so often swore to me?
Is this how you restore me to my ancestor’s ancient throne?
Are these the crowns with which you adorn my hair?
Are these the sceptres, are these the jewels and the gold?
To leave me  abandoned,
To be torn by and devoured by wild beasts?
Ah, Theseus, O my Theseus,
Will you leave me to die and weep in vain crying for help,
Poor wretched Ariadne, who gave you her trust, glory and life?

Oh! you don’t even reply!
To my lament his ears are as deaf as a serpent’s!
O, storms, O hurricanes, O Gales
Push him down beneath the waves!
Hurry sea-monsters and whales
Fill the bottomless deep with his foul limbs.
What am I saying? Why an I raving?
Alas! Wretch that I am, what do I want?
O Theseus, O my Theseus,
It was not I who uttered those savage words.
My grief spoke, my anguish spoke,
My tongue spoke, yes, but not my heart.

Unhappy woman, I still give way
To my betrayed hope, and still
After so much scorn, the fires of love are not quenched!
O death, now extinguish the worthless flames!
O mother, O father, O proud homes of the ancient kingdom where my golden cradle rested.
O servants, O faithful friends (Ah unworthy fate)
See where wicked fate has led me.
See the grief I have inherited from my love, my trust and his deceit.
One who loves too well and trusts too much such a fate endures.
Don't worry. There was a happy ending. 
Quel sguardo sdegnosetto
That scornful little glance
gleaming and threatening –
that poisonous dart -
Shoots out and strikes my heart.
Charms that have set me on fire,
and have divided me.
Wound me with a glance
Heal me with laughter!

Eyes be armed
with roughest rigor
pour on my heart
a cloudburst of sparks!
But let not the lips be late
in reviving my corpse;
let that glance wound me
but that laughter heal me.

To arms sweet eyes!
I prepare my breast for you:
take joy in wounding me
until I faint.
For if by your darts
I remain conquered,
Wound me with those glances!
But heal me with  that laughter.

Ohimè se tanto – Guarini
Alas, if you love so much
To hear me say ‘alas!’ then why do you make
Him who says ‘alas!’ die?
If I die, you’ll only hear
A single languid and sorrowful ‘alas!’
But if you want my heart,
For me to have life from you and you from me,
You’ll have sweet ‘alasses’ by the thousand.

Parlo misero – Guarini
Poor me! Should I speak or keep silent?
If I keep silent, what relief will my dying have?
If I speak, what pardon will my burning have?
Keep silent, for, at times, a closed flame
Is well understood by the one who ignites it.
Pity speaks in me,
Beauty speaks in her;
And that beautiful face says to the cruel heart:
‘Who can behold me and not languish from love?’

Anima del cor mio
Soul of my heart,
Now that you’re leaving me, wretched woman that I am,
If you allow me some relief from my suffering,
Don’t prevent me at least from following you
With my sighs only,
If only to remember you,
For in so much pain and in such burning anguish
Will I live from love, as an example of true faith.

Tirsi mio – Guarini
My Tirsi, dear Tirsi,
Are you deserting me again?
Thus you leave me to my death? Won’t you help me?
Don’t refuse me, at least, some last kisses.
One sword alone will, indeed, wound two hearts;
The wound of your Phyllis
Will, indeed, shed your blood.
Tirsi, at one time a name so sweet and dear
That I used never to appeal to it in vain,
Assist me, your Phyllis,
For, as you see, by ruthless fate
Am I led to a cruel and wicked death.

Maledetto s’ia l’aspetto
Cursed be the looks
that have set my heart on fire.
Alas! unhappy me, for I suffer
cruel torment and will surely die,
nor can any but you ease my suffering.
Cursed be the looks
that have set my heart on fire.

Cursed be the arrow
that has wounded me, of which I'll die.
She wills it so,  my sun,
she wills it,  who despises me with all her might.
What shall I do?
Cursed be the arrow
that has wounded me, of which I'll die.

The pitiless lady, death to me,
who dealt this blow would have it so.
She makes light of my ardour,
wishes me to suffer pain and death.
Here I'll die this grievous day.
The pitiless lady, death to me,
who dealt this blow would have it so.

Ed è pur dunque vero
Then is it true indeed,
Inhuman heart, cruel soul,
That in changing your mind
You have become devoid of both faith and love.
You may well boast of having betrayed me,
For I turn my kithara to weeping.

Is this the reward
For all my loving labours?
Thus I am confirmed in
You malevolent destiny, hostile stars.
But if your heart refuses all constancy,
Lydia, the fault is yours, and not the stars’.

In my misfortune, I shall drink of
My morbid, turgid tears,
And, ever grief-stricken,
To all other forsaken lovers
And to my constancy, I will sculpt in marble:
‘Foolish is the heart that believes in a beautiful woman.’

Poor in comforts,
Begging for hope, I will go wandering:
With nothing to burden me, nor any home.
Amid tempests I will live sad and solitary.
I will not need to avoid death from precipices,
For he cannot die who cannot live.

The number of years
When I was snow to the sun of your beauty,
Those heights of anguish
Which never gave me the slightest repose,
Have taught the winds to murmur
Your perfidies, O cruel one, and my torments.

Live, live with your heart of ice,
And let your inconstancy mistrust the breezes,
Clasp, clasp your love in your arms,
And rejoice with him at my misery, and laugh:
And both of you, in sweet and pleasant union,
Build the sepulchre of my life.

Abysses, abysses, hear, hear,
The final words of my despair,
Now that all is gone,
My joys and love and my pleasures.
So great is my misfortune that I can say
My grief can rival hell.

Si dolce e’il tormento
So sweet is the torment
that lies in my heart,
that I live happily
because of its cruel beauty.
May beauty's fury
grow wide in the sky
without compassion;
for my devotion shall hold
like a rock against
pride's unrelenting wave.

False hope,
keep me wandering!
let no peace
nor pleasure befall me!
Evil woman, whom I adore,
deny me the rest
that compassion would give;
amidst infinite pain,
amidst broken hopes
shall survive my devotion.

There is no rest for me
in the warmth or the cold.
Only in heaven
shall I find rest.
If the deadly strike
of an arrow injured my heart,
I shall heal still,
and change my destiny,
death's very heart
with the same arrow.

If the frigid heart
that stole mine
never has felt
love's ardour;
if the cruel beauty
that charmed my soul
denies me compassion,
may she die one day
by me pained,
repenting, languishing.

Eri gia tutta mia
Once you were all mine
This soul and this heart
What new bonds of love
turn you away from me?
O beauty, o valour
O miraculous constancy
Where are you now?
Once you were all mine
Now you are no longer,
Ah, you are no longer mine.

These fair eyes only to me
once were turned smiling,
For me these golden tresses
Unfurled in the wind.
O fleeting joys,
O steadfast heart, where are you?
Once you were all mine …

The joys of my face,
Alas, you no longer look upon.
My song and my smile
Have changed into torments.
O despondent sighs,
O vanished compassion,
Where are you now?
Once you were all mine …