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Eloquent & Elevated Ancient Laments Told Through 17th-Century Roman Poetry and Music

ATALANTE Nadine Balbeisi - soprano Theodora Baka - mezzo-soprano Siobhรกn Armstrong - triple harp Jรถrg Jacobi - harpsichord Erin Headley - viola da gamba, lirone, director

RESURGAM Mark Duley - Director

Saturday, May 11, 2013 8:00 pm St Nicholas Collegiate Church

Galway Early Music would like to thank its sponsors and friends, without whose support the Festival would not happen.




GOLD PATRONS Kimberly LoPrete

Adare Guesthouse

SILVER PATRONS Delo Collier Michael & Claire Cuddy Tom Grealy Riana & Pat O’Dwyer

Seán & Lois Tobin St Anthony’s & Claddagh Credit Union Ann McDonagh

WITH SPECIAL THANKS TO The Rector & Vestry of St Nicholas Collegiate Church, with heartfelt thanks to Catherine Moore-Temple The director and staff of the Galway City Museum, with special thanks to Brendan Mc Gowan Galway Early Music


See our general Festival Promo on Youtube: or scan this QR code:

ELEGANT AND ELEVATED Ancient Laments Told through 17th-Century Roman Poetry and Music

Misereris omnium, Domine (Sacrae concertationes, 1664)

Domenico Mazzocchi (1592–1665)

Passacaglia dell’ Seigneur Louigi*

Luigi Rossi (1597–1653)

Spars'il crine e lagrimosa (Lament of Zaida)

Luigi Rossi

Dove fuggi, crudele? (Lament of Armida)

Marco Marazzoli (1602–1662)

Lamento di David** (Sacrae concertationes, 1664)

Domenico Mazzocchi


Cadute erano al fine (Lament of the aged Helen of Troy)

Marco Marazzoli

Toccata Settima* (Secondo Libro, 1627)

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583–1643)

Già celebrato havea la Regina di Caria (Lament of Artemisia)

Marco Marazzoli

Dialogo della Maddalena** (Sacrae concertationes, 1664)

Domenico Mazzocchi

* instrumental ** with Resurgam

ELEGANT AND ELEVATED Ancient Laments Told through 17th-Century Roman Poetry and Music With Monteverdi's Arianna and the birth of opera and solo song in the early 1600s, a compelling new genre appeared and swept the whole of the 17th century. The heirs of Monteverdi's legacy, led by Luigi Rossi and his Roman colleagues, elevated the poetry of the solo lament to new expressive heights. Helen of Troy, Armida, Artemisia, Mary Magdalene and Zaida are but a few of the tragic heroines whose stories, as told in music, have recently been rescued from the vaults of the Vatican Library. Tonight's programme unveils a rich repertoire excavated, restored and brought to life again through Atalante's semi-staged performances. Singers in Caravaggio-style costumes from scenes of antiquity present ‘living paintings’ to enhance the narratives, and offer listeners a virtual experience equipped with the cultural store of a 17th-century mind. Realism, sensuality, ecstasy, and eroticism were hallmarks of this music, qualities most vividly exemplified in art through the narrative dramatic sculptures of the incomparable Gian Lorenzo Bernini. First awakened in Rome, this ultra-expressive, extravagant style later came to be known as ‘Baroque’. The discovery of this remarkable music and its fascinating culture arose from my long research on the lirone, the bowed string instrument that for 200 years (1500–1700) cast a magic spell over listeners in Italy and beyond the Alps. Rome was the city of the Counter-Reformation, the Barberini family were the generous sponsors of its musical entertainments, and the lirone was the instrument most especially associated with the Roman lament. This was its true realm in cantatas, sacred operas, and oratorios from 1620 until the end of the century. The lirone is joined tonight by the Italian triple harp and harpsichord to create a truly Roman kaleidoscope of colours and effects and an ultra-luxurious accompaniment for these tragic narratives. Luigi Rossi was the leading composer of 17th-century bel canto, the Roman school of elegant and lyrical melodic writing and ultra-expressive recitative; triple-time arias in particular are full of his unmistakable suavity, and a hallmark of the style. His circle included Marco Marazzoli, Domenico Mazzocchi and many other composers who heightened the powerfully expressive, often decadent texts of contemporary Roman poets to create a new musical aesthetic. This approach harmonised with the Counter-Reformation's conscious strategy of spreading its doctrines, especially through music

and the visual arts. Its banner heralded the attributes of martyrdom and death, extravagant repentance, lamenting, and religious ecstasy, not only through Christian but also through Classical narratives. Its motto Delectare et docere – to delight while instructing – was no more evident than in the lament, the ideal vehicle to serve the cause since it intimately involved the listener in a narrative of emotional struggle that ended in catharsis or redemption. Luigi Rossi’s Spars'il crine e lagrimosa is the lament of a young Muslim woman who witnesses the abduction of her lover Mustafa by pirates on to a Tuscan ship. The opening short narration is one of the most savoury and exquisite moments in 17th-century music, evoking images of the exotic East. Zaida's gentle refrains in arioso, pleading for Mustafa's return, punctuate waves of ferocious rage set in biting recitative, and in the end she not only curses the Christian god, but, in final and desperate fury, Mohammed himself. Marco Marazzoli's Già celebrato havea explores the twisted mind of Artemisia, Queen of Caria in the 4th century BC. Grief over the death of her husband Mausolo turns to madness when she begins to drink his ashes in her daily goblet of wine, ending in a succession of nightmarish hallucinations, delirium, hysteria, and guilt. The cantata is conventional in form, with its ordering of three recitative and aria pairs, and Marazzoli's style exhibits all the hallmarks of the suave bel canto; but it is also distinctly individual and inventive in its wayward melodic twists and turns, odd intervals, momentary dissonances, and startling wide leaps. The Lament of Armida also exhibits Marazzoli’s quirky and imaginative musical language, but the architectural form is less predictable than it is in Artemisia. The story comes from Tasso’s epic Gerusalemme liberata, in which another Muslim heroine, Armida, during the First Crusade, encounters her Christian enemy Rinaldo, falls in love with him and casts a spell on him. He is rescued by his fellow warriors and abandons her, thus her compelling lament. Tasso re-wrote versions of the ending many times; in one she converts to Christianity, in another, unbridled rage destroys her enchanted garden. Unlike other abandoned women of literature such as Dido, she does not commit suicide; here she is finally and proudly resigned to Rinaldo’s dedication to the art of war. Cadute erano al fine is a vanitas cantata: its centerpiece has Helen of Troy bitterly reflecting on her own old age. Unusually, a second singer narrates, and the two voices join in a final spirited duet warning of fallen youth and beauty.

Between Rossi and Marazzoli, over 700 manuscripts of chamber cantatas, operas and oratorios survive, many of which include laments. Domenico Mazzocchi also made important contributions to the repertoire, and his, more than any other contemporary’s, appeared in printed editions. Sacrae concertationes was published posthumously in 1664, with 19 works for the oratory set in Latin for two to nine voices. Misereris omnium, Domine is based on the Ash Wednesday introit, in which two praying souls reflect on God’s mercy via imaginatively varied textures from simple chant style to florid passagework, and picturesque rhetorical and imitative figures, frequently highlighted by tempo indications. David’s solo ‘Considera Israel’ from the oratorio Lamento di David offers clear printed evidence for the lirone as the preferred continuo instrument in laments. Rossi and Marazzoli assign a similar role to the instrument in their oratorios, affirming that the lament was the instrument’s natural habitat. In the Dialogo della Maddalena we have applied the same practice to ‘Tulerunt Dominus meum’, the Magdalene’s narrative of dismay and sorrow at finding Christ’s tomb empty. The eight-part choirs in both works reflect upon and amplify the emotional outpourings of the participants, and are monumental in their Baroque rhetoric. The castrato voice was introduced into the Sistine chapel choir in 1562, and Rome became the main centre for the male voice in the 17th century. Since papal institutions banned female singers, castrati like Marc'Antonio Pasqualini and Loreto Vittori sang women's roles in operas, oratorios, and cantatas. Of the female singers who performed privately, the most famous were the applauded trio of Leonora Baroni, her sister Caterina, and their mother Andreana. At the musical ‘academies’ held in their own private palace, the motto Delectare et docere was as powerfully evident as in official, papal Rome. These magical performances seduced and entranced their frequent distinguished guests, who included members of the Roman nobility, foreign dignitaries, priests, cardinals and Pope Urban VIII himself. © Erin Headley, 2013

Performers ATALANTE The award-winning ensemble Atalante is named in honor of Leonardo da Vinci's friend and pupil Atalante Migliorotti, inventor of the lirone. That magic and hauntingly beautiful bowed instrument has been Erin Headley's domain for the past 30 years, and is the inspiration for her group. In the 17th century the lirone was associated with the solo lament, a genre that first appeared during the time of Monteverdi, and reached its culmination in Rome. Atalante's luxurious continuo band of triple harp, chitarrone, keyboards and lirone accompany a sublimely dark repertoire that has been languishing in the Vatican Library for 300 years. Atalante has received repeated support from the Arts and Humanities Research Council of Great Britain, making it possible to stage and film their repertoire, offering a fully immersive experience to listeners of all kinds. To date Atalante have made four recordings in their series Reliquie di Roma released by Destino Classics (Nimbus) and have received the highest critical acclaim.Videos of staged versions with subtitles can be seen at Jordanian-American soprano Nadine Balbeisi received a bachelor’s degree in voice from the University of Michigan, and a further degree from the Hochschule fßr Musik, Cologne where she studied with Barbara Schlick. She went on to establish an international solo career in Germany singing oratorio, chamber music and opera, from Baroque to contemporary. With a particular interest in early music, she co-founded the duo Cantar alla Viola with viola da gambist Fernando Marín; several of their recordings of Spanish and English music are available on Quartz and Destino Classics. Her recordings of Italian laments with Atalante received outstanding reviews and were hailed by MusicWeb International as Recording of the Year 2011. A prizewinner of the Kammeroper Schloss Rheinsberg International Competition, Nadine was also awarded a lieder scholarship at the Franz Schubert Institute in Austria, and in 2013 she receives the Emerging Artist Award from the University of Michigan.

Theodora Baka was born in Greece and studied at the Larisa Conservatory; she later graduated from the University of Music, Drama and Media in Hannover with opera and chamber music degrees, and went on to take prizes at the TECHNI Panhellenic and the Göttingen Handel Society voice competitions in 2000 and 2001. She has sung many Baroque opera roles (Monteverdi, Handel,Vivaldi, Caldara and Domenico Scarlatti) in Europe’s premier opera houses, and has most notably recorded with Alan Curtis and Il Complesso Barocco (Virgin Classics). Chamber music and song recitals have taken her to Europe, Israel and Egypt with ensembles such as Latinatas, Fretwork, Ex Silentio and Atalante. She has also sung and recorded mediaeval music (Nell autunno di Bisanzio on Talanton) and traditional Greek songs (Myrtate on Raumklang).

Siobhan Armstrong thinks she’s very fortunate to perform and record 17th century opera and chamber music with some of Europe's most prestigious historical musicians, and also to play with some of Ireland’s best traditional musicians. She performs on a large collection of copies of single and multirow harps from the Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the baroque era and is really happiest accompanying vocal music: from plainchant to polyphony to sean-nós song to early opera. Siobhán also directs The Historical Harp Society of Ireland. Siobhán was a professional choral singer, played modern harps and read Music at Trinity College, Dublin in the 1980s, before moving to Germany. She returned to Ireland, in 1998, via Australia and London, and now lives in Kilkenny. She loves teaching, and cooks whenever she has a free moment!

Jörg Jacobi studied organ, harpsichord and voice at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen. He is a professional keyboard player and composer, and music director at Unser Lieben Frauen in Bremen. As a conductor, soloist and continuo specialist, he appears regularly at European music festivals, and his solo and ensemble recordings are numerous. Recently Jörg was awarded a doctoral fellowship at the Bremen Hochschule to research and write on the musical works of Leopold I. He is founder and editor of Edition Baroque, publishing all of Atalante's repertoire, as well as newly discovered works through his own extensive research.

Erin Headley is the world’s leading authority on the lirone, that hauntingly beautiful bowed string instrument that she re-discovered in 1975. She has spent her life restoring it to its former glory, through countless performances and recordings and meticulous research. From her initial discovery she went on to record Italian Baroque repertoire with Tragicomedia, Les Arts Florissants and other European specialist ensembles for Harmonia Mundi,Virgin, Hyperion, Teldec and Deutsche Grammophon. She is the author of the lirone article in The New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, second edition. In 2007 she was awarded a prestigious UK Arts and Humanities Research Council fellowship in residence at the University of Southampton, where she is now an honorary fellow. In 2012 she received a Distinguished Alumnus award from Penn State University, and recently she was musician in residence at Villa I Tatti, Harvard University's Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. She directs the ensemble Atalante, and has devised their recording series Reliquie di Roma on Destino Classics (

RESURGAM Resurgam makes a unique and distinctive contribution to Ireland’s musical life, and is widely acknowledged to be one of the country’s most accomplished vocal ensembles. The choir was established in 2003 and is a project-based ensemble of up to 32 voices comprising some of Ireland’s finest choral singers. A particular feature of the choir’s work is the presentation of the great sacred repertoire of the renaissance and baroque periods, frequently in partnership with the Irish Baroque Orchestra, with whom the group enjoys a special and ongoing relationship. Resurgam has performed in many venues throughout Ireland and also in the UK, and has featured in several major Irish festivals, including the Cork International Choral Festival, Ardee Baroque and the Galway Early Music Festival. The choir has worked with many internationally renowned conductors, including Christophe Rousset, Laurence Cummings, Christian Curnyn and Gary Cooper, as well as its own founderdirector Mark Duley. Website: Video:

Mark Duley, director of Resurgam, was born in New Zealand. He studied at Auckland University, the North German Organ Academy and Amsterdam’s Sweelinck Conservatorium, where he was a pupil of Jacques van Oortmerssen. He came to Ireland in 1992 as organist and director of music at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin, a post he held for eleven years. For ten years he was also artistic director of the Irish Baroque Orchestra: he co-founded the ensemble in 1996, and over the ensuing period ensured its establishment as Ireland’s flagship baroque ensemble. Mark now pursues a busy freelance career both in Ireland and further afield. As both conductor and organist he has appeared with most of the major Irish ensembles, including RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the National Chamber Choir, the Irish Baroque Orchestra, Opera Theatre Company, and his own professional choir Resurgam. He has performed at many of Ireland’s premiere festivals, including the Wexford Opera Festival, the Cork International Choral Festival, the Kilkenny Arts Festival and the East Cork Early Music Festival. RESURGAM SINGERS AND SOLOISTS Soprano Catherine Redding (Angel 1 solo in Dialogo della Maddalena) Deirdre Moynihan (Angel 2 solo in Dialogo della Maddalena) Aisling Kenny Susanne Savage Alto Jon Lycett Tenor Eamonn Mulhall (David solo in Lamento di David) John McKeown Bass Nathan Morrison (Nuntio solo in Lamento di David) Eunan McDonald (Testo solo in Lamento di David)

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Eloquent & Elevated Programme  

The programme of Eloquent & Elevated, 17th-century laments from Rome with Atalante, directed by Erin Headley, and Resurgam, directed by Mark...