Harmonia Early Music

Harmonia Time Capsule: 1600

Let’s take a quick look back in time…to 1600, the year of publication for Jacopo Peri's Euridice, the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, and more.

Giordano Bruno

Photo: Jastrow (wikipedia)

The trial of Giordano Bruno by the Roman Inquisition. Bronze relief by Ettore Ferrari (1845-1929).

Giordano Bruno, a Dominican friar, astronomer, mathematician, and philosopher, was declared a heretic by Pope Clement VIII. Of chief offense to the Roman Catholic Church was Bruno’s radical conception of the universe. Like Copernicus, Bruno understood that the earth orbited around the sun in a heliocentric system.  Looking up at the night sky, the scholar posited an infinite number of stars, each the nexus of its own solar system.  On February 17th, 1600, authorities burned Bruno at the stake, and his ashes were scattered in the Tiber River.  Today, Bruno is hailed as a champion of radical scientific inquiry and uninhibited intellectualism.

Giordano Bruno: Philosopher / Heretic
Ingrid D. Rowland
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The Pope and the Heretic: The True Story of Giordano Bruno, the Man Who Dared to Defy the Roman Inquisition
Michael White
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In Florence, Euridice, an opera with music by Jacopo Peri, was published.  The opera premiered at the Palazzo Pitti with Peri himself in the title role.  Ottario Rinucci composed the libretto, basing its plot on the legend of Orpheus and Euridice.  A number of Giulio Caccini‘s entourage took part in the initial production.  Eventually, Caccini’s own compositions were adopted into the opera.  Considered to be the second example of modern opera after Peri’s Dafne, Euridice incorporated an innovative blend of sung and spoken text.  This approach reflected tenets of the Seconda Practica, which include a preponderance of dissonance, dramatic shifts in affect, and the elevation of text over music.

The Style of Palestrina and the Dissonance (Dover Books on Music)
Knud Jeppesen
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Giulio Caccini: L'Euridice
Scherzi Musicali, Nicholas Achten
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Il Zazzerino: Music of Jacopo Peri
Ellen Hargis, Paul O'Dette, Andrew Lawrence-King, Hille Perl
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Euridice was composed in celebration of King Henry IV of France’s marriage to Maria de Medici.  For this reason, the figures Orpheus and Euridice have been paralleled with King Henry and his new bride.  Some argue, however, that this particular comparison had little basis in reality.  Henry and Maria suffered an unhappy marriage that culminated with the former’s assassination in 1610.  Following Henry’s death, Maria served as regent for her son Louis XIII of France until he came of age.

The Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence
Cristina Acidini Luchinat, et al.
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1600 also marks the year that Scotland adopted use of Pope Gregory XIII’s calendrical reform.  The Julian calendar was exchanged for the Gregorian calendar; and celebration of the New Year was moved from March 25th to January 1st.  This change to the calendar year accommodated the date of the vernal equinox and the subsequent celebration of Easter.  England, Ireland, and the British colonies followed suit over a century later, with the passing of the Calendar Act.

Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History
E. G. Richards
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Music heard in this time capsule:

Giulio Caccini : Tr. 6 - Antri ch'a miei lamenti (5'13”)
Scherzi Musicali/Nicolas Achten — Caccini: L'Euridice (Othere, 2008)
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album cover

Giulio Caccini : Tr. 6 - Antri ch'a miei lamenti (5'13”)
Scherzi Musicali/Nicolas Achten — Caccini: L'Euridice (Othere, 2008)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Giordano Bruno: Philosopher / Heretic
Ingrid D. Rowland
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Pope and the Heretic: The True Story of Giordano Bruno, the Man Who Dared to Defy the Roman Inquisition
Michael White
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Il Zazzerino: Music of Jacopo Peri
Ellen Hargis, Paul O'Dette, Andrew Lawrence-King, Hille Perl
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Giulio Caccini: L'Euridice
Scherzi Musicali, Nicholas Achten
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Style of Palestrina and the Dissonance (Dover Books on Music)
Knud Jeppesen
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
The Medici, Michelangelo, and the Art of Late Renaissance Florence
Cristina Acidini Luchinat, et al.
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Mapping Time: The Calendar and Its History
E. G. Richards
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Laura Osterlund

Laura Osterlund is a scriptwriter for Harmonia, recorder player, and student at McGill Univeristy in Montreal, Canada. In 2007, she moved from the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois to Montreal in pursuit of a B.Mus. with major concentrations in Early Music Performance and Music History. Laura is an active musician throughout Montreal and Chicago and an avid memberof the movement to promote Early Music performance, pedagogy, research, and appreciation throughout North America.

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