Friday, January 1, 2016


A New Year’s Day Concert

Jan. 1&2, 2016

Heliconian Hall


Sonata Op. 1, No. 12    Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Grave – Largo e puntato – Grave – Allegro

Costume di grandi  Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677)

Sonata Violino e Basso Op. 1, No. 2 Francesco Maria Veracini (1690-1768)
Preludio – Alemanda, Larghetto – Siciliana, Cantabile – Grave – Aria, Allegro 

Pièces en F                Gaspard Le Roux (c.1660-c.1707)
Prelude – Allemande Grave – Courante – Chacone

Sonata Violoncello e Basso Op. 1, No. 6 Benedetto Marcello (1686-1739)
Adagio – Allegro – Grave – Allegro

Intermission

Sonata a Violino solo Op. 1, No. 13 George Frederic Handel (1685-1759)
Afetuoso – Allegro – Larghetto – Allegro

Sonata da Camera Op. 1, No. 12 – Folia Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)

Serenata Con Violini – Hor che Apollo Strozzi 


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. 

Christopher Verrette has been a member of the violin section of Tafelmusik since 1993 and is a frequent soloist and leader with the orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University. He contributed to the development of early music in the American Midwest, as a founding member of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Voltaire, and as a guest director with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. He collaborates with many ensembles around North America, performing music from seven centuries on violin, viola, rebec, vielle, and viola d’amore. He was concertmaster in a recording of rarely heard classical symphonies for an anthology by Indiana University Press and recently collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream.

Patricia Ahern has a BA and BMus from Northwestern University, MMus from Indiana University, and performer diploma from the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland. She has taught baroque violin at the Freiburg Conservatory and Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, and given masterclasses at McGill, Wilfrid Laurier, York and Grand Valley State Universities, and the Universities of Windsor, Wisconsin and Toronto. She has concertized on five continents performing with Milwaukee Baroque, Ars Antigua, Chicago Opera Theater, Kingsbury Ensemble, Aradia, I Furiosi, Newberry Consort, Musica Pacifica, and the Carmel Bach Festival. Tricia has recorded for Sony, Naxos, and Analekta, and joined Tafelmusik in 2002.

Borys Medicky has appeared as solo harpsichordist and continuo player in the United States, Canada, and Europe.  Resident in Toronto, Canada, he is active as a freelance performer, having appeared with major ensembles in Toronto and beyond.  He enjoys co-directing (with lutenist Lucas Harris) the Toronto Continuo Collective, an all-continuo ensemble dedicated to fostering an increased interest in the stylish basso continuo accompaniment of seventeenth-century vocal and instrumental music.  From 2006-2014 he was the artistic director of the Kitchener-based Nota Bene Baroque Players.  He serves as organist of the Fifth Church of Christ, Scientist in Toronto.  In addition he builds harpsichords and carries out harpsichord maintenance duties for institutions and private clients in the Greater Toronto area.


‘The tuneful Laura Jones’ (Barczablog) has been praised for performances on all three of her instruments: modern cello, historical cello, and viola da gamba. Her multi-faceted activities include cellist of the Windermere String Quartet, principal cellist of the Talisker Players, assistant principal of the Hamilton Philharmonic Orchestra, and principal cellist/gambist of Nota Bene Baroque Players. Recently she performed the solo viola da gamba part in George Benjamin’s Written on Skin with the Toronto Symphony, and has played to sold-out halls with Ensemble Ritmo Flamenco. She is represented on recordings by The Golden Age of String Quartets, with the Windermere String Quartet; Serenade Française, a CD of music by French composers recorded with her father, pianist Lawrence Jones; and Where Words and Music Meet: Talisker Players at Massey College.

Program Notes
Today, in order to greet the first of the year, we bring you a concert made up largely of music from the first published works of composers, printed as their Opus 1’s. Of Corelli’s Op. 1 the amateur musician and critic Roger North wrote ‘Then came over Corelly's first consort that cleared the ground of all other sorts of musick whatsoever.’ Corelli’s first sonatas were originally printed in 1681 in Rome where he worked for the top Cardinal bishops. The scoring as designated in the Roman partbooks was ‘violino primo, violino secondo, organo’ and ‘violone o arclileuto;’ but in the decades they remained popular every bass and chordal instrument then used was listed on a partbook somewhere where the sonatas were printed, from Naples to London. The title page of John Walsh’s London edition of the early 18th century gives ‘violoncello’ as the melodic bass and says the ‘through bass’ is for ‘ye organ, harpsichord or archlute.’ In Bologna the archlute is a theorbo (which you hear today). 

In publishing a collection of trio sonatas as his first opus, Vivaldi imitates Corelli in musical style and choice of scoring. A number of Corelli’s collections have a ‘ground bass’ as their last piece, and indeed, his sonata we play today, the last in Op. 1, has a descending ostinato as its ‘Largo e puntado’ movement. Vivaldi gives us a virtuoso set of variations on the Folia bass at the end of his debut. The Folia chord changes are first seen in the E-Z guitar books of the early 17th century and the charactaristic strumming pattern (strum-STRUMMM-a-strum-strum) can still be heard in Vivaldi’s and beyond. The string licks are all his own though.

Handel had worked with Corelli in Rome before settling in London. His Op. 1 sonatas for a variety of solo instruments were printed at Amsterdam in the 1720s, but the sonata you hear today, probably composed near the end of his life, was only numbered as part of that opus by the 19th century cataloguer of his works. In this, as in the Veracini sonata, you can hear the first harbingers of the Rococo style, as well as the virtuosity needed to get ‘bums on seats’ in the new musical world where royal patrons were in decline and concert goers paid for tickets. Veracini also worked in London in the 1730s and 40s.

Like Handel’s Op. 1, No. 13, whether or not Marcello’s book of ‘cello sonatas can be called Op. 1 is in doubt, since when they were printed in London in 1732 they were called Op. 2. Marcello combined composing and performing with a career in the law and the Venetian government, serving on the Council of 40.

Gaspard le Roux is a man who does need an introduction, but almost nothing is known of his life except that he taught harpsichord in Paris. We can be sure that his stylistically very French Pièces de Clavecin of 1705 is his Op. 1 as it is the only publication he left.

Almost no composers attempt the Cantata form as their first publishing foray, but we bring, we think, a first with the great Barbara Strozzi’s Serenata from her Op. 8. In this piece Strozzi could be said to have arrived at the Cantata form, where recitatives and arias are split from one another and instruments provide ritornellos and obbligatos. What a Happy New Form. And a Happy New Year.

Translations
Costume di Grandi  
The Customs of the Great
Enjoy them then leave them:
thus inconstant and false
lovers are accustomed to treat
what they hold most dear.
Thus he who lies most, 
hopes for most praise.
He cheats and enjoys.

With thieving commands

they rob one’s pleasure.

Despise and enjoy –

thus is the custom of the great.

Thus who steals 
hopes for more praise.

He cheats and enjoys.

The great and wise one

is never well-advised

to enjoy and then speak well

of the love he has enjoyed.

Thus he who censures 
hopes for more praise.
He cheats and enjoys.

Serenata Con Violini
Hor che Apollo 
Now that Thetis rests against Apollo's breast  
and my sun is in sleep's lap,  
now that I suffer thinking of him,  
on whom I may not rest my eyes,  
In this refuge, to relieve my pain,  
I come crying in love and alone.  

Yes, Filli, this heart  
that dies of love,  
comes in supplication,  
in love with your beautiful eyes.  

See my foot so heavily shackled  
my brightest star,  
and if my suffering hurts you so,  
be less cruel – or if not, less beautiful;  

if less cruel were the suffering of my slavery,  
I would know you loved me  
and if you were less beautiful, I could elude these bonds.  

See with how many thorns my heart  
you pierce, red rose,  
and when you scorn my misfortune  
be less fierce or less fair;  

but vent yourselves,  
be liberated, sighs of mine,  
for I realize now  
that I am mocked by Filli even as she sleeps.  

She laughs without a doubt at my disquiet  
and ignores the pleading of my lament.  
I should therefore leave without consolation;  
if alive you do not love me,  
dead you will see me.  

While to another place my steps do take me,  
I leave you in sweet forgetfulness,  
I am leaving Filli, my soul,  
may this be the last goodbye.




Friday, November 27, 2015

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

The Musicians In Ordinary
for the Lutes and Voices


SONGS OF SOLOMON

Fr. Madden Auditorium, Carr Hall
University of St. Michael’s College
November 27, 2015
Lecture 7:30 p.m., Concert 8 p.m.

Salamone Rossi                    (c.1570-c.1630)
Sinfonia Quinta from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Shir hamma’a lot. ‘Ashrei kol yere ‘adonai: Ps. 128
‘Al naharot bavel: Ps. 137
Sonata Duodecima sopra la Bergamasca from Il Quarto Libro di Varie Sonate
Sinfonia Nona from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Lamnatsea.h ‘al haggittit: Ps. 8
Shir hamma’a lot. ‘Ashrei kol yere ‘adonai: Ps. 128
Sonata Prima detta La Moderna from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Gagliarda settima detta L’Herba from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Correnta settima from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Sinfonia Ottava from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Mizmor letoda: Ps. 100(99)
Sinfonia Sesta from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Sonata sopra l’aria di Ruggiero from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
Sonata Sesta in dialogo detta La Viena from Il Terzo Libro di Varie Sonate
‘Elohim hashivenu: Ps. 80:4, 8, 20
Mizmor le’asaf. ‘Elohim nitsav: Ps 82
Sonata Decima sopra l’aria Romanesca from Il Quarto Libro di Varie Sonate
Shir hamma’a lot. Beshuv ‘adonai Ps. 126

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 based in Toronto. Originally hailing from Geoje, South Korea, he grew up playing the piano. It wasn’t until 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.

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.

Bass-Baritone Joel Allison is currently pursuing an Opera Diploma at the University of Toronto under the tutelage of Daniel Taylor. He is a core member of the Tafelmusik Chamber Choir, and also performs with the Theatre of Early Music and is the bass lead at Trinity St. Paul's United Church. He has appeared as a soloist with many Canadian Ensembles including, the Peterbourgh Singers, Talisker Players, and Seventeen Voyces Chamber Choir. Joel performs regularly in both opera and concert. Roles include; the title role in the opera Don Quixote by George Telemann, Lepporello in Mozart's Don Giovanni, Don Alfonso and Guglielmo in Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, Aeneas in Purcell's Dido and Aeneas. Upcoming performances include the role of John Shears in Paul Bunyan by Benjamin Britten at the University of Toronto. Joel has a BMus in Vocal Performance from the University of Ottawa.

Christopher Verrette has been a member of the violin section of Tafelmusik since 1993 and is a frequent soloist and leader with the orchestra. He holds a Bachelor of Music and a Performer’s Certificate from Indiana University. He contributed to the development of early music in the American Midwest, as a founding member of the Chicago Baroque Ensemble and Ensemble Voltaire, and as a guest director with the Indianapolis Baroque Orchestra. He collaborates with many ensembles around North America, performing music from seven centuries on violin, viola, rebec, vielle, and viola d’amore. He was concertmaster in a recording of rarely heard classical symphonies for an anthology by Indiana University Press and recently collaborated with Sylvia Tyson on the companion recording to her novel, Joyner’s Dream.

Patricia Ahern has a BA and BMus from Northwestern University, MMus from Indiana University, and performer diploma from the Schola Cantorum in Basel, Switzerland. She has taught baroque violin at the Freiburg Conservatory and Oberlin’s Baroque Performance Institute, and given masterclasses at McGill, Wilfrid Laurier, York and Grand Valley State Universities, and the Universities of Windsor, Wisconsin and Toronto. She has concertized on five continents performing with Milwaukee Baroque, Ars Antigua, Chicago Opera Theater, Kingsbury Ensemble, Aradia, I Furiosi, Newberry Consort, Musica Pacifica, and the Carmel Bach Festival. Tricia has recorded for Sony, Naxos, and Analekta, and joined Tafelmusik in 2002.

Alexandra Guerson is a lecturer at the International Foundation Program, at New College, University of Toronto where she teaches world history. She received her PhD from the University of Toronto, defending a dissertation entitled Coping with Crises: Christian-Jewish relations in Catalonia and Aragon, 1380-1391. She has won major research grants from the Federal, Ontario and Quebec governments and her research has been published in journals such as Jewish History and Sefarad. Her new research project, a collaboration with Dana Wessell Lightfoot, deals with Jewish women in Catalonia in the aftermath of anti-Jewish violence in 1391 and is funded by a SSHRC Insight grant.



Notes

Rossi had already published seven books of madrigals and other Italian vocal music and four books of instrumental music when he saw his collection of Hebrew music for three to eight voices with the proud title Hashirim asher liSholomo, ‘Songs of Solomon’, through the presses in Venice in 1622-3. This book (which actually contains no texts from the Song of Solomon) is the first collection of polyphonic Hebrew music, but it is much more than that. The copious prefatory material includes a discussion of whether concerted, measured ‘art’ music had a place in the synagogue in an ‘opinion’ by Rabbi Leon Modena and responses thereto. So, since it seems to have still been a matter of contention, whether the Songs were heard in synagogue, study hall or private homes is not known. Perhaps the private synagogue, of the type prominent Jews of the time maintained, in the household of the dedicatee and Rossi’s patron, Moses Sullam, was the scene for the performance of these pieces. Perhaps they were heard as sacred chamber music in other rooms. But, though tonight you hear only Psalm settings, prayers with congregational and cantorial responses are included, perhaps less suited for public performance or private devotion. Would women have been heard singing upper parts in the synagogue? Castrati? Boys? Did Rossi’s sister, a successful early opera singer, take part?

Beside Sullam, Rossi’s main patron was the Duke of Mantua, at whose court  he worked as a violin player and possibly as a singer. 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 Marchesa of Mantua, 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. Rossi specifies ‘chitarrone (more often called ‘theorbo’) ‘or other similar instrument’ as the bass. Sonatas for two violins and a bass, through Corelli to Handel and beyond, have their antecedents in Rossi’s books of instrumental music.

Rossi 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 and Rossi was exempted from wearing the badge marking him out as a Jew. He is last heard of in Venice in 1628, putting another publication through the presses. It’s unknown if he stayed on quietly in Venice, or went back to Mantua and died in 1630 in the destruction of the Jewish ghetto when Imperial troops invaded, or perished in the plague that ensued.

In the typically hyperbolic commendatory poetry in the prefaces to the Songs  Rossi is compared, not to Orpheus, as musicians usually are in such places, but to King David, author of the psalms who also ‘danced before the Lord with all his might.’ I wonder if he danced a galliard, a correnta or one of our ground basses.



Translations
Shir hamma’a lot. ‘Ashrei kol yere ‘adonai: Ps. 128
A song of degrees. Blessed are all who fear the Lord: they walk in His ways. The labour of your hands will you eat; blessed will you be and all will be well with you. Your wife will be like a fertile vine in the recesses of your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus, indeed, will the man be blessed who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem, all the days of your life. May you see the sons of your sons; peace unto Israel!

‘Al naharot bavel: Ps. 137
By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat and wept remembering Zion. On willows in its midst we hung our lyres, for there we were asked by our captors and by our oppressors to make merry: ‘sing us a song of Zion.’ How can we sing the song of the Lord in a foreign land? If I forget you, Jerusalem, let my right hand forget itself. Let my tongue stick to its palate if I do not remember you, if I do not raise Jerusalem to the summit of my joy. Remember, Lord, the sons of Edom, in the day of Jerusalem; they said ‘raze it, raze it to its foundations!’ Daughter of Babylon to be ravaged, blessed be he who repays you in the coin you paid us. Blessed be he who grasps and smashes your babes against the rocks.

Lamnatsea.h ‘al haggittit: Ps. 8
For the chief musician, on the gittit; a psalm of David. Lord, our Lord, how mighty is your name throughout the earth, for You placed Your glory over the heavens. From the mouth of babes and sucklings You ordained the strength, because of Your enemies. to stop the adversary and the avenger. When I see Your heavens, the work of Your fingers, the moon and stars that You established, what is man that You should remember him and a mortal that You should care for him? You placed him a little below the angels; with honour and esteem You adorn him. You made him rule over the works of Your hands; everything You set under his feet: sheep and oxen, all these, as well as beasts of the field; birds of the skies and fish of the sea; whatever crosses the path of the seas. Lord, our Lord. how mighty is Your name throughout all the earth!

Shir hamma’a lot. ‘Ashrei kol yere ‘adonai: Ps. 128
A song of degrees. Blessed are all who fear the Lord: they walk in His ways. The labour of your hands will you eat; blessed will you be and all will be well with you. Your wife will be like a fertile vine in the recesses of your house; your sons will be like olive shoots around your table. Thus, indeed, will the man be blessed who fears the Lord. May the Lord bless you out of Zion, and may you see the good of Jerusalem, all the days of your life. May you see the sons of your sons; peace unto Israel!

Mizmor letoda: Ps. 100 (99)
A psalm for thanksgiving Cheer the Lord all the earth. Worship the Lord with Joy; come before him in song. Know that the Lord is God; He made us, and not we, His people and the flock of His pasture. Come into His gates with thanksgiving, into His courts with praise; thank Him, bless His name, for the Lord is good, everlasting his mercy and for all generations is His faith.

‘Elohim hashivenu: Ps. 80:4, 8, 20
God, restore us; brighten your face and we shall be saved. God of hosts, restore us; brighten your face and we shall be saved. Lord God of hosts, restore us; brighten your face and we shall be saved.

Mizmor le’asaf. ‘Elohim nitsav: Ps 82
A psalm of Asaph. God stands in the congregation of the godly; among the Gods will He judge. How long will you judge wrongly and the wicked favour? Selah. Judge the needy and the orphaned; to the poor and the destitute be just. Release the needy and deprived; from the hand of the wicked save them. They neither know or understand, in darkness they walk; down come all the foundations of the earth. I said: ‘gods you are. and the songs of the Highest One, all of you. Yet as men you will die and as one of the rulers you will fall.’ Rise, God, judge the earth, for you own the nations.

Shir hamma’a lot. Beshuv ‘adonai Ps. 126
A song of degrees. When led by the Lord to return to Zion, we were like dreamers. Then our mouth filled with laughter and our tongues with song: then we said among the nations: ‘great things did the Lord do for them.’ Great things did the Lord do for us; we were happy. Return us, Lord, from our captivity, like streams in the Negev. Those who sow in tears, in song will reap. He who goes about weeping, holding a bag of seed, will come back singing, holding his sheaves. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

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

The Musicians In Ordinary
for the Lutes and Voices


PROPHETIAE SIBYLLARUM

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)

Prologue
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.

PROPHETIAE SIBYLLARUM
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.

I. PERSICA
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.

II. LIBYCA
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.

III. DELPHICA
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.

IV. CIMMERIA
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.

V. SAMIA
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.

VI. CUMANA
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.

VII. HELLESPONTICA
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

VIII. PHRYGIA
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.

IX. EUROPAEA
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.

X. TYBURTINA
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.

XI. ERYTHRAEA
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.

XII. AGRIPPA
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

MUSIC FROM THE ANNE BOLEYN SONGBOOK

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)
(Tourdion)/(Recoupe)
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.

Translations
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.
Amen


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.