The Theater of Music

Saturday, 29th July 2017, Église de la Chapelle Montabourlet, Itineraire Baroque


Johann Adolph Hasse (1699 – 1783)
Sonate en trio en Fa majeur pour hautbois, violon et basse continue

Francesco Saverio Geminiani (1687-1762)
Air “Lady Ann Bothwell’s Lament”
extrait du traité du bon goût dans l’art de la musique (1749)

Henry Purcell (1659-1695)
Ground en do mineur pour clavecin seul

Francesco Saverio Geminiani 
Air “Sleepy Body”
extrait du traité du bon goût dans l’art de la musique (1749)

Georg Friedrich Händel (1685 – 1749)
Sonate en trio en sol mineur HWV 390
Pour violon, hautbois et basse continue

Notes to the Program

The Theater of Music full
J. Playford “The Theater of Music…”, London 1685. Engraving: after Wenzel Hollar, “Putti making music”

Throughout Europe in the Eighteenth Century, opera was by far the most popular and successful kind of entertainment. Private and public theaters attracted the work of the best singers and the best scenographers. The success of a certain opera could guarantee a composer fame and a prominent position in musical circles. That was the case for Purcell and Händel in London, and Hasse in Germany, all of them enjoyed public acclaim. As a result, their published music became very popular. The favorite arias from the most famous operas were often available in every sort of edition and transcription, for professionals and amateurs alike, aimed to reach the largest possible amount of buyers.
Hasse never traveled to London, although his music was known there thanks to his friendship with Händel, who conducted few operas by him in the English theaters. Instrumental music for various settings was also largely on demand, from the solo pieces – as the harpsichord music – to the bigger ensemble settings required for the performance of concerti grossi.
Geminiani was considered one of the greatest violinists of his time, his contemporaries in England considered him equal to Händel and Corelli. After teaching with the latter in Rome he moved to London, where he enjoyed an immediate fame of great virtuoso. He collaborated with Händel, and thanks to his several patrons he was able to spread his publications all around Europe, particularly in Paris, Dublin and the Netherlands. He was particularly inspired by the musical tradition from Scotland and Ireland, as testified by the set of variations on folk melodies included in his the “Treatise of Good Taste in the Art of Musick” (1749). In this publication he described the meaning of each embellishment and the sentiments it is supposed to express, for both singers and instrumentalists.
The genre of the trio sonata is possibly the one which resembles most closely the action of a theatrical production. As on the stage, two instruments, like two actors, are in constant dialogue with each other, their musical interaction bringing to mind the emotional intensity of a story without words. The continuo is also taking part in the scene, at times functioning as a dynamic commentary, at others deeply involved in the counterpoint and in the narration of the story. Since the birth of the ‘genere rappresentativo’ (or “action in music”), composers strove to evoke human emotions and passions in their instrumental music. Most of the sources referring to late Sixteenth Century instrumental music compare the tasks of a musician to those of an orator, for both have the final goal of touching the audience’s heart. Ensemble music thus became the “Theater of the Instruments”. In every individual sonata movement a different situation and a different story are represented.

Edoardo Valorz

Église de la Chapelle Montabourlet (map)
11h – 12H15 – 15h – 16h15 – 17h30

Ensemble L’Arco Sonoro

Francesco Bergamini,  violon
Yongcheon Shin, hautbois
George Ross, violoncelle
Edoardo Valorz, clavecin