programmes

 
 

Al Suono de soavi flauti: the recorder consort in the Veneto ca. 1540-1580

In the 16th century, the Republic of Venice had probably more connections with the recorder than any other city, and could legitimately claim the title “Capital of the Recorder”. The connections between the Venetian Bassano Family and the English court have been well documented and the fame of Ganassi’s Fontegara has had an influence on contemporaneous performance practice reaching far beyond the recorder.

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“Recorders greate and smale”: the recorder consort at the English court of the 16th century

The recorder consort had an exceptionally high status at the English court in the 16th century largely due to the fact that King Henry VIII himself was an enthusiastic player of the instrument. Indeed an inventory of his collection of instruments taken after his death contained no less than 76 recorders.

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Ottaviano Petrucci's instrumental music, Venice 1501-1508:  Flemish polyphony and Italian dances from the world's first music publications

The Venetian printer Ottaviano Petrucci was the first man in history to perfect a method for printing polyphonic music, both in staff notation and in lute tablature. Between 1498 and 1509, he printed and reprinted no fewer than 39 collections, which, when combined, provide a magnificent overview of the genres and composers that were popular in the early 16th century.

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“Domus Austriae Crescit Ubique”
Music from the Habsburg Courts at the time of Philippe de Monte (1568-1603)

The 400 year anniversary of the death of Philippe de Monte in 2003 gave a unique and important impulse for the newly formed Ensemble Mezzaluna to present its first programme to the general public. The repertoire from the 2nd half of the 16th century that was composed and performed at the Imperial, Royal and Baronial courts of Vienna, Prague, Innsbruck and Graz was not only large but also exceptionally varied in terms of style and form.

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“… Ac Tibijs Imparibus Accomodata”
“… and suitable for performance on recorders” (Gombert, 1539)
Flemish Polyphony from Obrecht to Lassus

The enlightened new perspectives and ideas offered by the early renaissance meant that in the music world, instrumental music began to play a larger role, even though up until the 17th century this was in almost every aspect dependant on vocal music. The development of homogeneous families, or consorts of instruments that in the case of the recorder consort, had actually started in the 15th century, reached its zenith around 1500 with the development of the viol consort. These new instruments became popular not only amongst professional musicians but also amongst amateurs and the recorder seems to have been especially appreciated amongst this group for its apparent ability to imitate the human voice.

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