martes, 30 de septiembre de 2014

The Choir Project al día | 27-IX-2014

Tarquinio Merula [1595-1665]: Confitebor tibi | Pegaso op[e]ra musicale l'undecima ove s'odono Salmi Motetti, Suonate, e Letaniae della B.V. a due tre quattro e cinque voci del Cavaliere Tarquinio Merula.
La Galanía | Raquel Andueza & J
esús Fernández.
Rediscovering Italian Baroque.

  Stephen Bonta wrote about Merula:
«The suggested years for Merula's birth derive from the fact that he was confirmed on 23 April 1607, probably at the customary age of 12. His earliest post was probably as organist of S Bartolomeo, the church of the Carmelite Fathers, at Cremona. On 22 October 1616 he signed a three-year contract to serve as organist of the church of the Incoronata, Lodi. He was re-engaged on 8 February 1620 but appears to have left Lodi at the end of January 1621. He probably went directly to his next known position, in Poland, since in a letter of Anton Neunhaber of about that time he is mentioned as being in Warsaw. In 1624 the nature of his position is made explicit: he was serving as ‘organista di chiesa e di camera’ to Sigismund III, King of Poland.

  Returning to Cremona, Merula was elected on 18 February 1626 provisional maestro di cappella for the Laudi della Madonna, which took place at the main altar in the cathedral on Saturdays and on vigils of Marian feasts. A regular appointment followed on 13 January 1627. In 1628 he was also holding the position of organist of the collegiate church of S Agata. His next move was to Bergamo, where on 12 April 1631 he signed a three-year contract to serve as maestro di cappella of S Maria Maggiore. As successor to Alessandro Grandi (i), who had died in the plague of 1630, Merula began the work of rebuilding the cappella. In his first year G.B. Buonamente was one of its members. Merula was, however, dismissed on 29 December 1632 for ‘indecency manifested towards several of his pupils’. Threatening a lawsuit to recover his lost salary, he was in turn faced with the prospect of a criminal complaint lodged by the governing body of S Maria Maggiore. On 11 April 1633 the matter was resolved by a statement from him in which he apologized and relinquished all claim to his salary. He again returned to Cremona and at his own request and by prior agreement was reinstated on 19 August 1633 as maestro di cappella for the Laudi della Madonna in the cathedral, thereby displacing G.B. Minzio, maestro at the time. Disagreements with the governing body there over matters of salary and responsibilities, however, led to his resignation in 1635. He is next heard of in 1638 at Bergamo, this time as maestro di cappella and organist at the cathedral, adjacent to S Maria Maggiore. Further problems with his former employers at S Maria Maggiore prompted them on 14 April 1642 to forbid any of their musicians to perform under his direction, thus disrupting the customary exchange of musicians between the two churches. He appears to have remained at Bergamo Cathedral until his final return to Cremona, which resulted from his appointment on 25 August 1646, in succession to Nicolò Corradini, as organist of the cathedral and as organist and maestro di cappella for the Laudi della Madonna. He thus held the last of these posts for the third time, and he now held all three until his death. In 1643 he collaborated with five others in composing music for La finta savia, performed in Venice. He was a member of the Accademia dei Filomusi of Bologna and a Knight of the Golden Spur.

  Merula was particularly responsive to Venetian stylistic developments, and his sacred music is thoroughly progressive. The sacred concertos for few voices resemble Monteverdi's in their skilfully wrought lines, often richly embellished. He was one of the first to write solo motets with string accompaniment. His sacred concertos for more voices are in the style of Giovanni Gabrieli, with harmonically conceived lines, strong tonal movement and formal clarity. In the mid-1630s Merula turned to writing mass and vesper psalm settings, several of which use ostinato basses. One setting of Beatus vir uses the romanesca, and an entire mass is said to be built on the Aria del Gran Duca, though in fact it is on the Ruggiero (see Kirkendale, 41). Other formal schemes encountered in his music include the ritornello principle and the ABB design common throughout Italy until the 1680s.

  Merula's secular music comprises monodies, dialogues and accompanied madrigals and includes some of the finest settings of his day. His arias are in the Venetian style of Berti and Grandi and are usually in triple metre. In numerous accompanied madrigals from the 1630s he adopted ostinato bass patterns, and in several the division into recitative and aria, characteristic of the mature Baroque cantata, is clearly recognizable. The title piece of his op.13 includes elements of Monteverdi's stile concitato. His instrumental music comprises works for both keyboard and ensemble. The ensemble canzonas are among his most significant works and trace the development of the form up to the 1650s, including the gradual fusion with the sonata that led to the sonata da chiesa. The earliest, like those of his north Italian contemporaries, use four-part writing and are divided into contrasting sections, which are often repeated. In his second book he adopted three-part textures, specified the violin (using notably idiomatic writing) and often re-used opening material at the end of a work. In his later canzonas the influence of violin technique is more marked, so they are indistinguishable from the early church sonatas subsequently produced by such composers as Cazzati and Legrenzi. In the 1630s and later he wrote several canzonas based on ostinatos, variations on popular tunes, chamber sonatas, sinfonias and a number of dances. He also wrote several sonatas similar to those of Buonamente and G.B. Fontana. His surviving keyboard works show similarities to those of Frescobaldi and Michelangelo Rossi. Several pieces use subjects found in his ensemble canzonas.»

  This video is recorded in the world première concert in De Bijloke Gent, last 16 september. The concert was the presentation of the complete recording of Merula's Op. XI, a wonderful album performed by La Galanía, a spanish ensemble of baroque music, directed by soprano Raquel Andueza and theorbist Jesús Fernández. In this video the singers are: Monika Mauch [soprano], Hugo Oliveira [bass] and Raquel, and instrumentalist are: José Manuel Navarro & Pablo Prieto [baroque violin], Vega Montero [violone], Bérengère Sardin [arpa doppia], Jesus Fernandez Baena & César Hualde [theorbo] and Miguel Jalôto [chamber organ].
 This fantastic sacred piece is constructed on the «ciaccona» ostinato, in the case of Merula, a specific type of «basso di ciaccona» that only he uses.

  Enjoy it this rediscovery and this amazing performance.

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