Ta fin est mon commencement: Composing in Italy in the Late Fourteenth Century
Pedro Memelsdorff (Schola Cantorum Basel)
Friday, February 21, 2014, 10am-1pm
Musicology Seminar Room, 808 Commonwealth Ave, Boston University
This talk explores anew the contrapuntal handicraft, literary background and semiotic implications of works by Johannes Ciconia and Matteo da Perugia.
A music director, a recorder player and a medievalist in musicology, Pedro Memelsdorff was born in Argentina in 1959 and has been living in Europe since 1977. As a musician, he has been a member of Jordi Savall’s Hesperion XXI since 1981 and of the duo Pedro Memelsdorff-Andreas Staier since 1984. In 1987 he founded – and ever since directs – the ensemble Mala Punica, specialized in late medieval polyphony, with which he has performed over four hundred concerts in the major early-music venues in Europe and America and published 8 CDs that have received over forty international awards. As a musicologist, Memelsdorff regularly publishes in the specialized press (Studi Musicali, Acta Musicologica, Recercare, Plainsong & Medieval Music, Brepols, LIM, Galluzzo). At present he is preparing a monograph on the Codex Faenza 117 for Brepols. He is Director of the Schola Cantorum in Basel.
Wednesday, February 5
“Singing Between the Lines”
10 am – 1 pm
855 Commonwealth Avenue, 2nd Floor
How can we interpret lost vocal styles? An exploration of 17th-c Italian vocal music through works composed by singer-songwriters Francesca Caccini and Barbara Strozzi. Includes performances and discussion of ornamentation, notation, expressivity, and accompaniment.
Students interested in participating should contact Scott Metcalfe (email@example.com).
Please click here for an extended bio.
Please see the full schedule.
Renowned conductor and scholar Andrew Parrott will be in residence at the Center for Early Music Studies at Boston University for a full week early in the spring semester, February 1-7, 2014. Mr. Parrott boasts a long and distinguished record of publication, performance, and recording and has made many fundamental contributions to our understanding of the performance of early music through applying rigorous scholarship to engaging and stimulating music-making. Best known in recent years for his meticulously documented study of choral forces in the music of J. S. Bach, his contemporaries, and predecessors (The Essential Bach Choir, 2000)—a book that, together with Joshua Rifkin’s pathbreaking work, must forever change the way we think about the nature of vocal ensembles in the 18th century and before—he has also been a leader in advancing our understanding of performance practice in the music of Monteverdi, especially issues of vocal scoring and high-clef notation. His many recordings reach forwards and backwards in time from the “core” Baroque repertoire and include many landmarks, among them a celebrated reconstruction of late 16th-century Florentine intermedii for a Medici wedding.
While at BU, Mr. Parrott will engage with students and faculty in a range of activities, emphasizing the music of Claudio Monteverdi. He will direct the Marsh Chapel Choir for a Sunday service, participate in a roundtable discussion (with BU faculty including Professor of Musicology Joshua Rifkin and CEMS co-director Scott Metcalfe) of performance practice in Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610, work with master’s and doctoral students in the choral conducting program, give a public talk considering general issues of historical performance, meet with graduate students in musicology for a freewheeling seminar open to any topics which engage questions of performing early music, and finally teach a two-day intensive mini-course (available for 1 or 0 credit; also open to students outside BU) on Monteverdi’s Orfeo.
The seven-day residency will be further enriched by a lecture-demo and master class given by the eminent American soprano Emily van Evera, long resident in the UK and a longtime collaborator in Mr. Parrott’s projects.
Thursday, October 24
principal cellist, Handel & Haydn Society
“Shake It: 500 Years of Vibrato in String Playing”
Master Class, 3:45-5:00
Marshall Room, 2nd Floor
College of Fine Arts
855 Commonwealth Avenue
This class is for players of modern or early string instruments. Interested students should write to Scott Metcalfe, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Israeli-born cellist Guy Fishman is active as a concerto soloist, recitalist, chamber musician, and orchestral player. He was recently appointed Principal Cellist of Boston’s Handel & Haydn Society, with which he made his Symphony Hall solo debut in 2005. Mr. Fishman is in demand as an early music specialist in the United States and Europe, performing in recital and with Boston Baroque, Apollo’s Fire, Emmanuel Music, the Boston Museum Trio, Arcadia Players, and El Mundo. He performs on standard cello with the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, The Mark Morris Dance Group, the Albany Symphony Orchestra, the Colorado Music Festival, and the Springfield Symphony, where he has been guest principal cellist. He has performed in recital with Dawn Upshaw, Gilbert Kalish, Eliot Fisk, Daniel Stepner, Lara St. John, Richard Egarr, and Mark Peskanov, and has toured and recorded with pop artist Natalie Merchant.
Guy Fishman has performed in chamber music recitals in Boston’s Jordan Hall and Sanders Theater, and Weill Recital Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, and BargeMusic in New York. He has appeared at the Tanglewood, Kneisel Hall, Chautauqua, Aston Magna, Connecticut Early Music, and Musicorda festivals. He was a member of the New Fromm Players at Tanglewood, principal cellist of the New York String Orchestra at Carnegie Hall, and has performed in fringe recitals at the Boston Early Music Festival. He has also appeared on NPR broadcasts. His playing has been praised as “plangent” by the Boston Globe, “electrifying” by The New York Times, and “beautiful….noble” by the Boston Herald. A critic for the Boston Musical Intelligencer, listening to Guy’s recent performance of Haydn’s C-major concerto, related that he “…heard greater depth in this work than I have in quite some time.”
Guy Fishman is also active as an educator. He holds faculty positions at Bridgewater State University, Providence College, and Bryant University (RI). He presents lectures and masterclasses throughout the country, and maintains a private studio at his home in Arlington, MA.
Mr. Fishman started playing the cello at age 12, and at 16 began his Baccalaureate studies with David Soyer at the Manhattan School of Music. He subsequently worked with Peter Wiley, Julia Lichten, and Laurence Lesser, with whom he completed Doctoral studies at the New England Conservatory of Music. In addition, Mr. Fishman is a Fulbright Fellow, and spent his fellowship year in Amsterdam studying with the famed Dutch cellist Anner Bylsma. Mr. Fishman has recorded for the Coro, Centaur, Telarc, Titanic, and Newport Classics labels. He plays a rare cello made in Rome in 1704 by David Tecchler.
ll Furioso (Victor Coelho & David Dolata, directors), “An early music power trio” and Toccata Classics recording artists, will team up with recorder specialist Aldo Abreu (BU faculty member in Historical Performance), for a concert of virtuoso music of the seventeenth century by Pandolfo Mealli (1630-69) and Bellerofonte Castaldi (1581-1649).
Please join us in the BU Concert Hall (855 Commonwealth Avenue) at 8 pm on April 11th.
The vocal ensemble Blue Heron will perform “Divine songs,” a program of songs and masses based on them, featuring the music of Johannes Ockeghem (c. 1420-1497). Pre-concert talk at 7:15pm. Both events are in conjunction with the interdisciplinary conference Voice and Voicelessness in Medieval Europe and Beyond.
Please note the change in venue.
225 Bay State Road
For more information about the vocal ensemble Blue Heron, please visit their website: www.blueheronchoir.org.
The Boston Choral Ensemble (Andrew Shenton, music director) will present a concert entitled Déplorations on March 8 at St. Paul’s Church in Cambridge and March 9 at The Cathedral of the Holy Cross in Boston. Both performances will begin at 8pm.
From Professor Shenton:
The act of deploration, or lament, especially for the death of a loved one, has inspired composers to write some of the most powerfully moving music. This concert begins with the famous Deploration on the death of Ockegham by Josquin. In the first of two main sections we contrast Tallis’s settings of the Lamentations of Jeremiah for men’s voices with Tartini’s setting of the Stabat Mater dolorosa for women’s voices. In the second main section, we highlight different approaches to text interpretation with settings of the same text, from the renaissance and from the twentieth century. The concert concludes with the monumental 40-part motet Spem in alium by Tallis, which is a renaissance masterpiece and any performance is always an occasion.
For more details and tickets, please visit bostonchoral.org.
1:30-3:00 p.m., Sunday, 14 April 2013 (free and open to the public)
Marshall Room, CFA
The Silence of Medieval Singers
Katarina Livljanić (Ensemble Dialogos / University of Paris – Sorbonne)
Benjamin Bagby (Ensemble Sequentia / University of Paris – Sorbonne)
Investigating how the human singing voice might have sounded in plainchant and other ecclesiastical vocal traditions of the Middle Ages, we find ourselves confronting medieval informants whose written words are surrounded by silence. We scholars and performers have access to medieval musical notation but we do not have access to medieval sounds; our perceptions are based on the singing voices of the living but informed by documents created by those long dead, whose sounds we have never heard.
Among the various strands of medieval musicology, the study of the voice is one of the most closely linked with performance practice; medieval texts about the voice and the notation of vocal music can only be fully discussed and understood when they are linked with vocal practice and made audible today. In the investigation of medieval instruments, it is possible to evaluate visual sources, and based on these to make reconstructions of playable instruments; but in the case of the voice, visual sources can only provide us with very limited, external information, such as the number of singers present and their possible relationship to a written source, or hand and facial gestures. And reconstructions? Today’s singers are the only possible reconstructions. We cannot learn, by studying texts and images, how to sing in the way medieval singers did; performances today will always contain an element of conjecture.
However, if we are pursuing a study of medieval singing out of intellectual curiosity, then we can at least examine here a number of examples from the medieval sources, which could help us to enter by various small doors into the huge realm resounding with the many voices of medieval authors, singers and scribes. Our discussion here will try to take this reality into account as we select specific texts and notated elements, examining these for possible hints about the vocal sounds and techniques of some medieval singers.
We are marking the 250th year of the birth of the Chevalier Girolamo Crescentini. In 1806, Napoleon heard him sing in Vienna and brought him back to Paris to become the first court singer (premier chanteur de l’empereur). Crescentini was singing his most famous role, Romeo in Niccola Zingarelli’s Giullietta e Romeo in 1809 when he moved the entire court to tears, including the emperor. Napoleon descended to the stage and, unpinning it from his own coat, awarded Crescentini the order of the Iron Cross of Lombardy, elevating him to a knighthood and the nobility. Crescentini was a famous singer, teacher and composer. This concert will feature his songs for fortepiano and for classical guitar, a solo cantata similar in quality to middle period Beethoven, though with an Italianate cast, and selections from Zingarelli’s Giullietta e Romeo, with mezzo-soprano Mary Gerbi singing the role of Giulietta, from a circa 1820 collection of arias and duets arranged for fortepiano.
Robert Crowe, soprano (Romeo)
Mary Gerbi, mezzo soprano (Giulietta)
Professor Peter Sykes, fortepiano
Professor Victor Coelho, guitar
Please join us on January 30 at 8pm in the Marshall Room for “Napoleon’s Castrato: Girolamo Crescentini (1762-1846).” This event is free and open to the public.
On January 29, Professor Rifkin will give a lecture entitled “Counterpoint and Conjecture: Imagining a Lost Motet.”
From Professor Rifkin:
“In April 2012, the Dutch vocal ensemble Cappella Pratensis and I did a series of concerts with music by the marvelous Renaissance master Jacobus Clemens non Papa. We built the program around a mass based on motet a called Gaude lux Donatiane.
“It seemed sensible to include the motet in the program as well. Only problem: the motet no longer exists.
“Bart Demuyt, the head of the Alamire Foundation and the driving force behind the concert, decided that we shouldn’t let that deter us …”
Members of Blue Heron will perform excerpts of the work. Please join us at 5pm in the Marshall Room on the 2nd floor of the BU College of Fine Arts, 855 Commonwealth Avenue. This event is free and open to the public.