Sunday, 29 July 2012

Baroque Music Festival - Sunday Concert - and Louis XIV

Dimanche 29 Juillet


en partenariat avec la ville de Saint-Astier
et le Conseil Général de la Dordogne


Mors Saülis et Jonathae
Canticum pro pace
Troisième leçon de ténèbres du Mercredi Saint, H 135
Praelium Michaelis

"These sacred stories are actually the most original of all Charpentier's work.
In addition the composer shows clearly here his affiliation with Italian music,
especially that of Carissimi."  Catherine Cessac


Ton KOOPMAN, direction


photo credit:   Père Igor

Between Mussidan and Perigeux on the River Isle is the village of Saint Astier.
The village began in the 7th century when the hermit Asterius gave his name to the place.
In the 8th century a monastery dedicated to Saint Astier was built.
The original monastery was destroyed by Normans and rebuilt the following century.
There is a statue of Saint Astier in one of the small squares near the church.


Canticum de Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1636 - 1704)
Chef d'orchestre: Ton Koopman

Une gargouille du clocher de l'église Saint-Astier
photo credit:   Père Igor


Baroque Music

Elaine Thornburgh

The Baroque period of European musical history falls between the late Renaissance and early Classical periods, 
that is, roughly the century-and-a-half between 1600 and 1750. 
During the Renaissance, Europe had assimilated the humanism and rationalism of Greco-Roman civilization, had 
undergone the theological and political turmoil of religious reformation, and had, for the first time in the history of our species, begun to outline the contours of that scientific method which was to provide Europe with its technological impetus. During the era of Baroque music, European civilization emerged to a preeminence on the planet which was to endure into the twentieth century.

Baroque musicians served patrons, whether nobles, state or church. 
It was not until well into the eighteenth century that some musicians, like their twentieth century counterparts, began to work without patronage as independent professionals, 
earning a living from teaching, composing and performing.

Ciaccona di Alessandro Piccinini (1566 - 1638)
contenuta in Alessandro Piccinini "Works for theorbo" (2005)
 nell'esecuzione di Fred Jacobs alla tiorba.

Dipinti del pittore italiano Giuseppe Arcimboldo o Arcimboldi (1526 -- 1593).

Fred Jakobs - portrait    here


As does all great art, Baroque music speaks to something that transcends time and place, 
but it also derives much from the social and cultural context of the world for which it was written. 
The emerging financial, commercial and professional classes created their own musical experience 
 in the home and at church, and artistic schools flourished portraying their everyday life.

This was also an era of absolute monarchy, where the entire government of a country 
could be the personal property of an individual. 
The monarch of the most powerful state then on the European continent was Louis XIV of France.

  by Hyacinthe Rigaud (1701)

Louis XIV (5 September 1638 – 1 September 1715), known as the Sun King 
was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. 
He holds the distinction of being the longest-reigning king in European history, 
reigning for 72 years and 110 days.

He tersely explained his absolute monarchy with the aphorism, L'…tat, c'est moi--"I am the state"--
which he had demonstrated by centralizing the political and artistic life of his nation 
at his grandiose court in Versailles.


There, the unified conception of buildings, 
gardens and interiors served as a daily reminder of his absolute power. 
Lavish musical and theatrical spectacles were staged to charm and disarm his aristocratic courtiers 
and to dazzle and subdue his foreign visitors. 
Musicians at Versailles, and at the other courts of Europe, were merely a few of the myriad craftsmen 
whose purpose was to enhance the glory and power of the sovereign.

File:Lana Ritratto di Girolamo Valeriani.jpg
Ludovico Lana, Ritratto del liutista Girolamo Valeriani, ol/tl, Coll. privata
 circa 1630

File:'Portrait of several musicians and artists' by François Puget 1688 - Brunel 1980 p31.jpg
"Portrait of several musicians and artists" by François Puget (1651-1707)
Traditionally the two main figures have been identified as the composer  
Jean-Baptiste Lully and the librettist Philippe Quinault
Credit: Musée du Louvre. Photo: Hubert Josse.

The Baroque composer thought of himself as a craftsman rather than as an artist. 
Unlike later European art music, a great deal of Baroque music was written on demand for specific occasions, and musical scores were often treated with the care we would accord to yesterday's newspaper. 
Despite this disregard for posterity by many Baroque musicians, 
we are still the fortunate inheritors of an enormous and magnificent body of work.

read all   here


Music at the French court at Versailles flourished during the time of Louis XIV.
The positions for musicians set up under the Sun King continued well into the eighteenth century. 
There were over 150 official musicians at the court. 
Music as an institution on a grand scale at Versailles was thus set in place.

Robert de Visée (?1650-?1732)~Suite in D major
Pascal Monteilhet~Therbo
Theorbo by Mathias Durvive, 1978, after Matteo Sellas, Venice 1638

From "Suites for theorbo-Bach-de Visée/Pascal Monteilhet" (Virgin 2000)

Robert de Visée (ca. 1655 – 1732/33)
was a prominent lutenist, guitarist, theorbist and viol player at the court of Louis XIV,
as well as a singer, and composer for lute, theorbo and guitar.
His solo repertoire for theorbo and baroque guitar
has survived as some of the greatest pieces for the instruments.

 Biography     here

Painting from 1667 depicting Louis as patron of the fine arts.

In the French court of King Louis XIV,
music is used to portray the king as a brilliant god-like figure of absolute importance to the state.
The king used art as a tool for political gain with the help of his ministers and court composers.

File:Louis XIV as Child.jpg
Charles Poerson
Portrait of Louis XIV (1638-1715) as Jupiter Conquering the Fronde 1648-1667


The king liked to dance

The powerful literary tradition in France often hides the fact that Louis XIV was a music-loving king.

When Louis XIV was four years old, his father passed away, leaving him to reign as King of France.
Jules Mazarin, the Italian-born chief minister guided Louis XIV’s interest to the arts of dance
and music in the young king’s formative years.
Cardinal Mazarin encouraged the prominent role of music in courtly life.
Mazarin brought the Italian opera and wanted to see it spread to France.
The salons and galleries of Versailles, as well as the private apartments of the king and queen were used for music and theatre. Couperin wrote his Concerts royaux for Louis XIV's bed chambers. Under all the grandeur of Versailles was a monarch who as a boy had been tutored by the brilliant Cardinal Mazarin, and learned music and dance. Well into his thirties he danced in the court opéra-ballet productions. Moreover, Louis had every reason to dance. Coffee, tobacco (and soon sugar), coupled with the West African slave trade to the Americas were beginning to prove highly lucrative. Louis spared no expense: his court technical team and stage managers—known as "Les Menus Plaisirs"—were capable of astonishing productions. Ironically, the offices of the court techies in the nearby Hôtel des Menus Plaisirs would later serve as the meeting hall of the first "Assemblée Nationale" in 1789!

Louis and his family portrayed as Roman gods in a 1670 painting by Jean Nocret.
Left to Right: Louis's aunt, Henriette-Marie; his brother, Philippe, duc d'Orléans;
the Duke's daughter, Marie Louise d'Orléans, and wife, Henriette-Anne Stuart;
the Queen-mother, Anne of Austria; three daughters of Gaston d'Orléans;
Louis XIV; the Dauphin Louis; Queen Marie-Thérèse; la Grande Mademoiselle.


Versailles - photo credit  Eric Pouhier

5. Music in Versailles
The major influence of France in the Baroque age was one of courtly opulence. In 1669 Louis XIV decided to convert an old hunting lodge at Versailles into a palace of unprecedented magnificence and the court moved there in 1683. There was not a European court could match Versailles for the opulence of its luxury interiors, chandeliers, mirrors, or flamboyance court ceremony.
In fact, Louis and his country were overburdened by the debts which the costly Versailles imposed on them. Then, during the later years of the 1600s, France suffered famines and disastrous military defeats. Versailles started to lose the splendor and ended as the king died in 1715. In contrast, this was a rebirth of non-Lullyan music in Paris – musical freedom was reborn in Paris, with a boom in sheet-music printing and music lesson.

Music was used by Louis XIV as a “pliable political tool; rarely in history have the relations between politics and music lain more openly on the surface than during the French absolutism.”.The court atmosphere of Louis XIV could make every noble guests emulating for their own glory and used music as a form of propaganda for the political power.

Venetian lute music....

Louis desired that the music would be a reflection of his absolute rule and the throne. He made sure that his own agenda was promoted through the music of the day. Likewise, Lully as a court musician also used his position to promote his own objectives that allowed him to exert his personal musical style in France.
Some literatures in France often hide the fact that Louis XIV was a music-loving king. But actually the fact is the salons and galleries of Versailles (as well as the private apartments of the king) were used for music and theatre. The music that came from the French court of this time would not have been possible withoutthe contributions Louis XIV made to support and further French music.....

 info source       here
'Le Roi dansant le menuet'


Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1643~1704)
- Te Deum en ré majeur, H 146 -

Choeur des Musiciens du Louvre
Les Musiciens du Louvre

Best wishes for a joyful and sunny Sunday
et Bonne Semaine!

Biography Elaine Thornburgh:
Elaine Thornburgh has received critical acclaim for her performances 
throughout the United States as a soloist and chamber musician. 
A semi-finalist in the Sixth International Harpsichord Competition 
in Bruges, Belgium in 1980, Miss Thornburgh also received 
a National Endowment of the Arts Solo Recitalist Grant in 1984 
and has been a California Arts Council Touring Artist since 1985.....
read more   here

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Baroque Music Festival - 2012 - the Itinerary

Samedi 28 juillet 2012

Small Churches, Grand Music!

The day begins with everyone attending an opening concert
in Mareuil-sur-Belle
before breaking into smaller groups to discover the charm of
five intimate churches and the magic of five different musical programs.

Château-de-Mareuil - 12th century

In the 12th century, Mareuil-sur-Belle was one of Périgord's four baronies
(the other three were Beynac, Bourdeilles and Biron),
but was pillaged by the English in the 14th century.
The ruined 12th century Château-de-Mareuil was finally restored in 1964.
Neolithic and Gallo-Roman remains (including a mosaic)
have been discovered in and around the town.


Architecture around Mareuil:
  Romanesque Church of St-Pardoux-de-Mareuil (12th century);
ruins of Saint-Priest-de-Mareuil church (12th century);
38 Châteaux in the canton.



CORNET:   Fantasia en sol Majeur
ANONIMO:   Tiento en sol mineur
BUXTEHUDE:   Wie schön leuchtet der Morgenstern en sol Majeur, BuxWV 223
BACH:   Pastorale en Fa Majeur, BWV 590

Ton KOOPMAN, orgue




10h30 - Départ de l'Itinéraire

which leads us over the soft rolling countryside, through old villages.....
 passing countless Chateaux, Castles and Manor houses;
old farms, country gardens, small forests, sunflower fields...... far as the eye can see...


From church to church  -  from concert to concert....





11h – 12H15 – 15h – 16h15 – 17h30 > ÉGLISE DE CONNEZAC


BACH - Suite pour violoncelle N°6 en ré Majeur, BWV 1012

Piroska BARANYAY, violoncelle baroque

The sixth cello suite by Bach differs from the others
as it was written for an instrument with an extra 'E' string on the top.
This string allows to move more easily into the higher tegister,
with light-hearted joy and giving an interesting gamba-like timbre.
Piroska Baranyay is a young Hungarian virtuos
who bring all his brilliance to his interpretation of this master piece.







11h – 12H15 – 15h – 16h15 – 17h30 > ÉGLISE DES GRAULGES

In the 17th Century Violin virtuosos originated from the extreme North
as well as the extreme South of the German speaking land.
 These musicians traveled and played in Hambourg, Luebeck, in the North of Germany
down to South to Vienna in Austria, for example.



Manfred MITTERBAUER, basse
Christiane GAGELMANN, violon
Barbara Julia REITER, violoncelle
Bernhard PRAMMER, orgue positif

BIBER : Nisi Dominus - Sonate 12 L’Ascencion
BUXTEHUDE : Auf meinen lieben Gott, Bux WV179
BRUHNS : Cantate Mein Herz ist bereit

BRUHNS:  Mein Herz ist bereit.....

Nicolaus Bruhns (Nikolaus, Nicholas) (late 1665 – 29 March 1697)
was a German organist, violinist, and composer.
He was one of the most prominent organists and composers of his generation.

Although he had a short life and wrote very little music that survives,
Nicolaus Bruhns is considered important in the development of North German Baroque music
for bringing a new virtuosity to his vocal writing.
The Bruhns family was among the musical dynasties that one encounters
all over the history of German music in the 1600s.
The Bruhns lived in northern Germany and southern Denmark.
Paul Bruhns (d. 1655) was a lutenist who had three musical sons, of whom the middle, also named Paul,
was Nicolaus' father. Paul the Younger got a musical job in Schwabstedt by marrying the daughter of the town organist there and inherited it. (This was a common practice in the area at the time.)
When Nicolaus showed uncommon musical talent at an early age, Paul sent him to live with Paul's younger brother, Peter, in Lübeck, a town with a livelier musical life and, hence, better teachers.
Primary among them was the great organist Dietrich Buxtehude, who considered Nicolaus his best pupil. Nicolaus also studied violin with his uncle Peter. 
read more     here











11h – 12H15 – 15h – 16h15 – 17h30 >


The ancient church a mixture of 11th, 12th and 14th Centuries,
still exists today and has been renovated recently after a century and a half or more of neglect.

PURCELL : Chants et musique instrumentale
Ah! how pleasant ‘t is to love - Oh! solitude -
Allemande en ré mineur Still i’m shishing - Musick for a while -
The plaint - A ground en ré mineur - An evening hymn
Nicolas ACHTEN, baryton et harpe triple

Nicholas Achten is today one of the rare classical singers
to accompany himself on different instruments based on historical practise.
This program of Purcell's music lets us appreciate the talent of this great artist
who still excites the enthusiasm of the public.

Born in Brussels in 1985, Nicolas Achten studied singing, theorbo, 
harpsichord and triple harpa at the Royal Conservatoires of Brussels and The Hague. 
At the same time, he completed his training at the Académie Européenne d’Ambronnay, 
at the Centre de la Voix at Royaumont, as well as in various masterclasses. 
In 2006, he won the Price of Printemps Baroque du Sablon 
at the 7th International Baroque Singing Competition in Chimay.
Since 2004 he has appeared regularly with various early music ensembles, such as l’Arpeggiata (C.Pluhar), La Fenice (J.Tubéry), La Petite Bande (S.Kuijken), Ausonia (M.Glodeanu and F.Haas), Les Agrémens, Akadêmia (F.Lasserre), Les Talents Lyriques (C.Rousset), Il Fondamento (P.Dombrecht) 
and Les Musiciens du Louvre (M.Minkowski).
more   here

His interest in the vocal music of the 17th century led him to create the ensemble Scherzi Musicali; alongside other instrumentalists and singers, he aims to revive the practice of singing whilst accompanying himself on the theorbo, harp and harpsichord. Their debut recording of Caccini’s l’Euridice was released in autumn 2008 on the Belgian Ricercar label, and has been unanimously praised by the critics.
Nicolas Achten is a visiting professor at the University of East Anglia and at the Flanders Operastudio.

Purcell - An Evening Hymn



"straw and order"





right next to old houses with Renaissance facades....

...being stuck in a rural traffic jam!





11h – 12H15 – 15h – 16h15 – 17h30 


Bettina PAHN, soprano
Tini MATHOT, piano forte

HAYDN : Cupido - Die Verlassene - Die zu späte Ankunft der Mutter ZELTER : Beruhigung - Neue Liebe, neues Leben - Abendlied MOZART: Rondo in la mineur, KV511 - Andante - Komm, liebe Zither, komm, KV351 - Des kleinen Friedrichs Geburtstag, KV529 - Als Lusie die Briefe ihres ungetreuen - Liebhabers verbrannte, KV520 - Sehnsucht nach dem Frühlinge, KV 596

Mozart - Komm liebe Zither komm...

Summer Pastoral
by Francois Boucher, 1749

Abendlied Mozart - Rondo KV511

The Lied with piano originated in the 18th Century;
in Berlin, based on poems written by Goethe for Zelter
and in Vienna with Mozart and Haydn.
If Mozart thought of them as simple happy pieces,
we regard them as small works of genial inspiration.


Carl Friedrich Zelter

Carl Friedrich Zelter, 1758 - 1832

As a composer, Carl Friedrich Zelter is best known for his Lieder,
particularly those that are settings of poems by his close friend Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
But Zelter's greatest contribution may have been as a music educator:
he was a key figure in the movement to establish public-supported music instruction in Germany.

Zelter was born on December 11, 1758, in Berlin. He showed musical talent as a child, teaching himself to play piano, violin, and other instruments; nevertheless, he prepared for a career as a mason, like his father. At the age of 14 he became a master mason and four years later took control of his father's masonry business. That same year (1787) he married. read more    here










...hundreds of years old tombstones.....



11h – 12H15 – 15h – 16h15 – 17h30

Jean-Miguel ARISTIZABAL, clavecin
Thibaut ROUSSEL, théorbe
Mathilde VIALLE, violoncelle

MARAIS Livre III, suite en la mineur
Livre IV, suite d’un goût étranger
Livre II, Le Tombeau pour Monsieur Sainte-Colombe

Marin Marais's work marks the apotheosis of composition for the viola da gamba.
This programme brings together works from the most moving of the répertoire,
being among the Tombeau pour Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe or La Reveuse.


Marin Marais (31 May 1656, Paris – 15 August 1728, Paris)
was a French composer and viol player.
He studied composition with Jean-Baptiste Lully, often conducting his operas,
and with master of the bass viol Monsieur de Sainte-Colombe for 6 months.
He was hired as a musician in 1676 to the royal court of Versailles.
He did quite well as court musician,
and in 1679 was appointed "ordinaire de la chambre du roy pour la viole", a title he kept until 1725.

He was a master of the basse de viol, and the leading French composer of music for the instrument.
He wrote five books of 'Pièces de viole' (1686-1725) for the instrument, generally suites with basso continuo.
These were quite popular in the court, and for these he was remembered in later years as
he who "founded and firmly established the empire of the viol" (Hubert Le Blanc, 1740).
His other works include a book of Pièces en trio (1692) and four operas (1693-1709),  
Alcyone (1706) being noted for its tempest scene.
 read more  here



A demain....with 

the CONCERT DE CLOTURE in St. Astier

  Baroque music at the court of Louis XIV, Versailles.