To the City and the World
Saturday, 2007 January 27th, 7 PM
Black Heads’ House
MUSIC OF THE ITALIAN BAROQUE
Andres Mustonen (violin, Estonia)
Ramon Yaffé (violoncello, Germany)
Ivo Sillamaa (harpsichord, Estonia)
The famous virtuosos’ Riga debut
Program: Vivaldi, Corelli, Torelli, Boccherini, Stradella etc
BAROQUE MUSIC IN ITALY
It was hardly surprising that music too should flourish against this rich visual background. Typical of baroque musicians active in Rome was the composer and violinist Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), whose style of playing became the basis for the violin technique of the 18th and 19th centuries, and whose chamber music compositions were far-reaching in their influence. Born in Fusignano, he studied in nearby Bologna and after 1675 lived in Rome. There his patrons included Queen Christina of Sweden and, after 1690, Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni, (1667-1740), librettist and important music patron who as vice-chancellor of the church resided in the Palazzo della Cancelleria where Poetico-Musicali Accademie were held and operas and oratorios performed. The most widely published and reprinted composer before the Austrian Joseph Haydn, Corelli was the first composer to gain an international reputation solely on the basis of his instrumental music. Many elements of his style became commonplace in the 18th century, and his works are early examples of the newly evolved system of major and minor tonality. As the preeminent violin virtuoso of the day, he taught many leading violinist-composers of the 18th century, among them the Italian Francesco Geminiani.
Many eminent composers of the baroque period, notably Handel for example, sojourned in Rome, and Corelli's influence was to spread itself throughout Europe. Rome was of course also featured on the Grand Tour, which the wealthy of Europe and especially England were enjoying in increasing numbers during the 1700s.
The universally acknowledged master of Neapolitan Baroque music was Alessandro Scarlatti (b. May 2, 1660, in Palermo; d. October 24, 1725, in Naples). Almost overnight he revolutionized the provincial musical atmosphere prevailing at Naples before he arrived in February of 1684 as new maestro di cappella at the Viceregal Chapel. Direct inheritor of the grand Italian traditions of opera, oratorio, cantata, and instrumental composition received from Pietro Francesco Cavalli (1602-1676), Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674), Alessandro Stradella (1642-1682), and Giovanni Legrenzi (1626-1690), Scarlatti was well equipped to revolutionize Neapolitan musical life. The abrupt resignation of the old Neapolitan Guard - Francesco Provenzale (ca. 1627-1704) and six of his colleagues, all disappointed that Provenzale was passed over in favor of Scarlatti upon the death of Pietro Andrea Ziani (ca. 1630-1684), cleared the way for Scarlatti's breath of fresh air. Scarlatti's operas and cantatas, his serenatas and oratorios, and especially his instrumental works soon brought new life to Neapolitan music. He was to write over one hundred operas, six hundred cantatas and a number of oratorios. He was also frequently commissioned by members of the European nobility to compose sonatas for wind and string instruments as well as cembalo pieces and concerti grossi. His set of Sinfonie di Concerto Grosso are currently available in the Philips label performed by I Musici.
Domenico Scarlatti (b. Oct. 26, 1685, in Naples; d. July 23, 1757, in Madrid) was the sixth son of Alessandro Scarlatti. The father no doubt exposed Domenico to the best possible training in Naples, taking him in about 1708 to Venice to study with Francesco Gasparini (1668-1727), himself a pupil of Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713). From Venice the younger Scarlatti journeyed to Rome — with Handel, according to report — where both performed before Cardinal Pietro Ottoboni. About 1720 he moved to Lisbon, and some ten years later to Madrid. He is perhaps best-known today for his keyboard sonatas, in which he borrowed liberally from Hispanic folk tunes and rhythms creating a unique blend which might be called "Iberian Baroque".
Venice, the great independent trading city-on-the-water in the north, was also a place of great wealth, architectural masterpieces, and musical influence, the most famous among its musical sons being Antonio Vivaldi. Venice also featured on the European nobility's "Grand Tour". In retrospect however we may perhaps sadly note that the economic power and wealth of Venice was already in decline, and by the end of Vivaldi's lifetime economic recession had set in from which Venice was never to recover.
An underlying, all-pervading and inspirational influence on Italian baroque music was provided by its violin-makers, mainly centered in Cremona - the Amati family in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Guarneri and Stradivari families in the 17th and 18th. It might be suggested that in a similar way the great organ-builders of Germany, Arp Schnitger in the north and Gottfried Silbermann in the south, inspired and challenged composers such as Buxtehude and JS Bach to compose organ works, which would exploit to the full the varied and majestic tonalities of these notable instruments.
The establishment of the early music consort Hortus Musicus and the continued role as its leader is the most important stage in the career of the most outstanding and versatile Estonian musician – a violinist, early music lecturer, conductor Andres Mustonen (1953).
He was graduated from the Estonian State Conservatory (now Estonian Music Academy) at 1977 as violinist. Still as student, he organize an early music group, which has given her first concert in1972. This is also the start of the tradition of early music performance in Estonia. A.Mustonen propagated it enthusiastically all over the former Soviet Union and Nordic Countries. At the time, it was a daring step to take, defying both the music life and the dominating spirit of the period.
He is widely known as an idea generator and energetic organiser. A variety of festivals and concert cycles (Gate Tower Music, the Great Music Academy) have come into existence under this leadership. His musicianship is far from dry academism and lives its own life in a creative unrestrained atmosphere.
Although Andres Mustonen is first known as early music specialist, he has surprised audiences and critics with his individual and completely novel approach to European music. His repertoire spans from Monteverdi, Mozart, Haydn, Bach, Beethoven, Brahms, Schubert and Mendelssohn to Takemitsu, Prokofiev, Penderecki, Pärt, Tavener, Kancheli, Knaifel and contemporary Estonian music.
He has co-operated with famous European soloist, like G.Kremer, P.Gallois, O.Kagan, J.Ryhänen, D.Sitkovetsky, M.Petri, A.Ljubimov, M.Groop, E.Virsaladze, I.Monighetti and many others.
Andres Mustonen has also conduct different orchestral series, such like "Mozart encore", "Schubert and Wien", "Kletzmer-music" and
"Music of A.Piazzolla".
Since many years, A.Mustonen has been a praised and warmly welcome visitor (with or without Hortus Musicus) to various music festivals in cities all over the world - Berlin, Warsaw and Krakow, Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, Glasgow, Moscow, Herne, Antwerpen, Berlin, München, Copenhagen, Prague, Bratislava, Helsinki, Carintischer Sommer, Hetta, Malmö, Boston, Stockholm, Lockenhaus, Lintz, Innsbruck, London, Zaragoza, Utrecht, Flandria, Kobe etc.
A variety of different cultural backgrounds have accompanied Ramon Jaffé throughout his biographical and therefore also his artistic life. Born in Riga, Latvia, he and his family emigrated to Israel in 1971 and he has been living in Germany since 1974, where he also completed his studies.
From the beginning and up to his diploma, his artistic mentor was his father, Don Jaffé. In his quest to broaden his musical horizons, Ramon found models in D. Geringas, Sandor Végh, B. Pergamenschikow and Daniel Shafran. Under the patronage of these masters, he took part in a number of competitions with success. His subsequent career as a soloist took him to famous concert halls in Berlin, Munich, Colone and London. At the Vienna Music Festival he played a concert with the Austrian Radio Symphony Orchestra, which has been broadcast several times on radio and television. With the Bavarian Radio Orchestra conducted by R. Abbado, he appeared at the Hercules Hall in Munich in 1995 and, with the famous jazz singer Bobby McFerrin in Gasteig. He also played chamber—music with Sandor Végh at his last great performance as a violinist at the big hall of the Mozarteum in Salzburg.
Ramon Jaffé has been a guest at many festivals, such as the Schleswig—Holstein Festival, the Rheingau Festival, the Mozart— Festival in Würzburg, the Salzburg Kulturtage, Piano Summer in Munich, the Kuhmo Chamber Music Festival (Finland), the Jerusalem Chamber Music Festival, the Expo 1992 in Sevilla, the MIDEM in Cannes etc..
His playing has been captured on a large number of CD‘s, such as the ,,Meditation hebraique“, Brahms arrangements (published by Koch international) and a Granados disc (published by cpo), the World premiere recording of the Cello Concerto by B. Blacher (SIGNUM) as well as on numerous TV and radio recordings.
Making the acquaintance of the Andalusian flamenco guitarist Pedro Bacan, who died in 1997, turned out to be one of Ramon Jaffé‘s most exciting cultural encounters. Preliminary inquisitive experimentation led to his being initiated into the secrets of this fascinating world. Further development towards perfection finally found its culmination in performances with guitarist Stephan Schmidt at festivals as the Expo ,92 and the Biennale ,96 in Seville, the MIDEM ,95 in Cannes, the M. Ohana Festivals in Paris, flamenco festivals in Madrid and Mt. de Marsan, and in many other concerts. He is continuing this path with Stephan Schmidt.
Chamber music delicacies are offered by Ramon Jaffé~ as a member of the string trio ,,Belcanto Strings“ and the ,,Mendelssohn Trio Berlin“.He realized an artistic dream by founding the Chamber Music Festival Hopfgarten, Tyrol, of which he is the artistic director.
Ramon Jaffé is teaching at the Hochschule für Musik ,,C.M.v. Weber“ in Dresden.
Pianist Ivo Sillamaa graduated from the Estonian Academy of Music (professor Bruno Lukk) in 1979 and Moscow State Conservatoire (professor Vera Gornostayeva) in 1981. He is a prizewinner of numerous international competitions. The pianist has been constantly performing in Estonia, Latvia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Russia as a soloist and chamber music player. Ivo Sillamaa plays harpsichord and organ as well. He is a participant of the international acclaimed early music consort Hortus Musicus . Since 1993 he is a professor of the Estonian Academy of Music.