Tuesday | January 25, 2022 | 7:30pm
St. James by-the-Sea | La Jolla
Luzzascho Luzzaschi (1545–1607) Io veggio pur pietate
Morir non puo'l mio core
Cipriano de Rore (ca. 1515-1565) Ancor che col partire
Alessandro Piccinini (1566-1638) Toccata III. Chromatica
Luzzascho Luzzaschi Deh, non cantar
Carlo Gesualdo (1566-1613) Occhi, del mio cor vita
Scipione Lacorcia (1585?-1620?) Ahi, tu piangi
Girolamo Kapsberger (1566-c.1638) Passacaglia
Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) Lamento della ninfa
Elam Rotem (b. 1984) Aní yeshenáh velibí er
Claudio Monteverdi Lamento d’Arianna
Elam Rotem Ballo del Granduca (improvisation)
Claudio Monteverdi Bel Pastor
Zefiro torna e'l bel tempo rimena
THE STORY OF THE ITALIAN MADRIGAL
The program takes the listener on a journey back in time and place to Italy of the 16th and early 17th centuries, following the secular vocal genre of the madrigal. The Italian madrigal was artistically one of the most important musical genres of the Renaissance, in which composers were able to freely experiment with new musical means to express the text, means that would not have been appropriate or even permitted in motets or masses. The novel expression of the poetry and its affects, initiated in the madrigals of Cipriano de Rore (ca. 1515-1565) and later known as seconda prattica, paved the way to the formation of a new musical language and to the first operas.
We thus begin with Cipriano de Rore, il divino, whose madrigals balance the Renaissance ideal of pure sound beauty with new experimental ways of expressing the poetry. De Rore’s setting of Petrarch’s sonnet, Datemi pace, is a fine example of his extraordinary musical language: beautiful, surprising and at points bizarre, even for a modern listener. De Rore was the musical father of many important composers in the generations to come, for example of Luzzasco Luzzaschi (ca. 1545-1607), active in the court of Ferrara, one of the leading courts in Renaissance Italy in the fields of music and poetry. Luzzaschi studied with de Rore as a young man and continued to explore the latter’s novel musical ideas. This can be clearly heard in Luzzaschi’s Quivi sospiri, a rare example of musical setting from Dante’s Divine Comedy.
Don Carlo Gesualdo (1560-1613), a nobleman and self-made composer, studied for a time with Luzzaschi. Gesualdo was described by his contemporaries as “madly obsessed with music”, and a certain touch of madness is quite evident in his chromatic and avant-garde madrigals. They express the poetry very effectively, sometimes at the expense of sheer musical beauty. Gesualdo was not the only composer employing this kind of extreme musical means, but rather a member of a circle of composers who stretched the madrigal genre in a specifically mannerist way. An almost unknown composer of the same school is Scipione Lacorcia (1585?-1620?), who ventured even further than Gesualdo. The madrigal Ahi, tu piangi might lead the listeners to believe that it is a piece composed in the 20th century. The pace at which Lacorcia allows himself to jump between extremely foreign harmonies is truly shocking.
The pieces by Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) show how the madrigal genre was transported under his hands into the realm of musical drama. Most striking are the two lamenti by Monteverdi: the epic Lamento d’Arianna, the only surviving excerpt from his lost opera L’Arianna which the composer himself arranged for five voices and basso continuo; and the famous Lamento della Ninfa, which could have easily been an operatic scene depicting an abandoned maiden.
We included also one piece by Elam Rotem, who uses in his compositions the musical language of the early 17th century. The piece is a setting of text from the Song of Songs, describing a lost girl looking for her lover, not unlike in the lamenti of Monteverdi.
Profeti della Quinta
Doron Schleifer, Roman Melish – Countertenor
Lior Leibovici, Loïc Paulin– Tenor
Elam Rotem – Bass, Harpsichord & musical direction;
Rui Staehlin – Theorbo
Ensemble Profeti della Quinta was founded in the Galilee region of Israel by the bass singer and harpsichordist Elam Rotem, and is based in Basel, Switzerland, where its members undertook further studies of early music at the Schola Cantorum Basiliensis. Focusing on repertoire from the 16th and early 17th centuries, the ensemble aims to create vivid and expressive performances for audiences today while, at the same time, considering period performance practices. Another goal of the ensemble is performing and researching hitherto neglected works, such as Emilio de' Cavalieri's Lamenta$ons (1600) and Salomone Rossi's Hashirim asher li'Shlomo (1623), the first publication of polyphony in Hebrew.
In 2011 the ensemble won the York Early Music Young Artists Competition, and has since performed in Europe, Israel, North-America, China and Japan. It gave concerts in prominent festivals and venues such as Oude Muziek Festival Utrecht, Beethovenfest Bonn, London Festival of Baroque Music, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New-York and the Shanghai concert hall.
The ensemble’s CD recordings are warmly received by public and critics alike. These include recordings dedicated to the music by Salomone Rossi (two CDs), Luzzasco Luzzaschi, Orlando di Lasso, Claudio Monteverdi, the anonymous composer Carlo G, Phillipe Verdelot and others. Profeti della Quinta are also featured in the documentary film Hebreo: The Search for Salomone Rossi by Joseph Rochlitz, filmed in Mantua, Italy. The ensemble has premiered and recorded two large-scale works composed especially for it by Elam Rotem: the biblical drama Joseph and his Brethren and the motet collection Quia amore langueo. Both works employ Hebrew texts taken directly from the bible, and were composed in the musical language of the early Italian Baroque.