LSM Newswire

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Princely Music to be performed by the Musicians In Ordinary in Toronto on October 24

Second Concert of Catholic “House Music” at St. Michael’s College

The Musicians In Ordinary continue to “Sing Praise Upon the Lute and Viol” in their second of three concerts of religious music written for Catholic households of the 16th and 17th centuries.  Motets With Symphonies: An Italian House Concert for a Venetian Prince of the Church features songs and instrumental music of praise from Renaissance Venice, Friday, October 24, 8 p.m. at Fr. Madden Hall, Carr Bldg., St. Michael’s College, University of Toronto, 100 St Joseph St. 

Tickets, $25, $20 for students and seniors, are available at the door. 

Rev. Lisa Wang puts the music in context in a pre-concert talk at 7:30 p.m.  Further information is available by calling 416-535-9956 or visiting 

Soprano Hallie Fishel, baroque violinist Christopher Verrette, lutenist John Edwards and other members of The Musicians In Ordinary – St. Michael’s ensemble-in-residence – perform works primarily by the founder of modern opera, Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643), and by his deputy at St. Mark’s Cathedral, Alessandro Grandi (1586-1630). 

MIO found plenty of repertoire from which to compile their concert.  The composers were kept busy writing music to be performed at the homes of “Princes of the Church”.  These “Princes” (or Primicerii in Latin), were often second sons of Italian aristocratic families, and held positions ranging from archbishops to popes, while their older brothers got the dukedom or the marquisate.

In 1620, Monteverdi wrote to his opera librettist Striggio explaining why he couldn’t possibly get away to Mantua.  Apart from his duties at St. Mark’s Church, “there is the Most Illustrious Primicerius, for whom every Wednesday, Friday and Sunday, I make music in a certain oratory of his, to which half the nobility come.”  The Primericus was a member of the patrician Cornaro family, which spawned doges, cardinals and other important dignitaries (     
MIO’s October 24 concert will include selections from Monteverdi’s Selva Morale e Spirituale (Moral and Spiritual Wood), including Confitebor Tibi “alla Francese” (“If you like”), with soprano and four violins.  From Grandi come O vos omnes, which was scored for violas, since violins might seem too jaunty for the text; as well as Motetti con Sinfonie (motets with symphonies – from the original Greek meaning, “sounding together”), and sonatas for strings and theorbo. 
Besides music by Monteverdi and Grandi, there are canzonas and sonatas for strings by Biagio Marini (1594-1663), a bass singer and violinist at St. Mark’s; and by others. 

The Musicians In Ordinary will conclude their three-concert series of 16th and 17th century spiritual music, Sing Praise Upon the Lute and Viol in January 2015 with The Cure of Religious Melancholy, featuring the music of English Renaissance composer John Dowland.



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