Harmonia Early Music

Listener Favorites: Gesualdo, Tavener, Dalza, Pergolesi, And More

We asked our listening audience to tell us their favorite pieces of early music.

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Photo: Courtesy of New York Public Library's Digital Library / Mu (wikimedia commons)

Italian composer Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736) by Vincenzo Roscioni.

Time capsule for this episode: 1619

Not long ago, we asked our listening audience, through the Harmonia website and its social media pages, to tell us their favorite pieces of early music. The response was not only enthusiastic, but quite detailed.

We also asked everyone to tell us what city they lived in. As it turns out, many reside on the East and West Coasts, the Midwest, and Southern United States, as well as Hawaii.  Others live further afield, including London (England), Vancouver and Winnipeg (Canada), Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Alicante and Oviedo (Spain), and Porto (Portugal).

Favorite Renaissance repertoire

One favorite repertoire of our listeners was firmly anchored in the Renaissance.

Carlo Gesualdo: "Correte, amanti" - instrumental
Les Arts Florissants/William Christie — Carlo Gesualdo: Madrigaux (Harmonia Mundi, 1992)
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John Taverner: "O Christe Jesu, pastor bone"
Alamire/David Skinner, Quintessential, and Andrew Lawrence King, harp — Henry's Music: Motets from a Royal Choirbook and Songs by Henry VIII (Obsidian, 2009)
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Joan Ambrozio Dalza: Saltarello and Piva
Rolf Lislevand — Diminuito (ECM, 2009)
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Baroque mentions

Two popular compositions that were requested are both masterpieces and universally loved—Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s Stabat Mater and Johann Sebastian Bach’s B minor mass.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Stabat Mater "Quis est homo"
Anna Prohaska (sop), Bernarda Fink (alt), and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin — Stabat Mater (harmonia mundi, 2010)
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Johann Sebastian Bach: "Et in Spiritum sanctum"
Dunedin Consort & Players/John Butt — Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (Linn, 2010)
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The Helm Manuscript

We’ve been listening to our listening audience’s favorite pieces. We’ll get back to them in a moment, but first let’s have a look at a unique manuscript from the 18th Century.

During the 2009-2010 school year, two professors from Indiana University collaborated on a course that focused on a manuscript housed at the Lilly Library, the University’s repository for rare books, manuscripts, and special collections.

The two professors were viola da gambist Wendy Gillespie and musicologist Giovanni Zanovello.  The students who took their class learned about the contents and background history of the Helm manuscript.

The Helm manuscript was copied by Englishman John Stafford Smith in the 18th Century. It contains a little over two-dozen vocal works from the Renaissance and Barqoue, including composers Le Jeune, Palestrina, Lassus, Bononcini, Stradella, Merula, and others.

To celebrate the work achieved in studying the manuscript, the Indiana University Concentus Ensemble presented a concert of excerpts.

Orlandus Lassus: "Suzanne ung jour"
Concentus/Wendy Gillespie and Paul Elliot — Music from the JSS Manuscript (Lilly Library) (Live performance, Indiana University, April 18, 2010)
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Featured release: Llibre Vermell

Our “listener’s favorites” continue with this week’s featured release.  More than one person wanted music from the medieval collection of Marian songs known as the Llibre Vermell, or “Vermillion Book.”

Here to fulfill the request is the Catalan ensemble Capella de Ministrers, under the direction of Carles Magraner.

"Stella splendens in monte," "Cuncti simus concanentes: Ave Maria"
Capella de Ministrers/Carles Magraner — Llibre Vermell (Licanus, 2002)
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album cover

Carlo Gesualdo: "Correte, amanti" - instrumental
Les Arts Florissants/William Christie — Carlo Gesualdo: Madrigaux (Harmonia Mundi, 1992)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
John Taverner: "O Christe Jesu, pastor bone"
Alamire/David Skinner, Quintessential, and Andrew Lawrence King, harp — Henry's Music: Motets from a Royal Choirbook and Songs by Henry VIII (Obsidian, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Joan Ambrozio Dalza: Saltarello and Piva
Rolf Lislevand — Diminuito (ECM, 2009)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Giovanni Battista Pergolesi: Stabat Mater "Quis est homo"
Anna Prohaska (sop), Bernarda Fink (alt), and Akademie für Alte Musik Berlin — Stabat Mater (harmonia mundi, 2010)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Johann Sebastian Bach: "Et in Spiritum sanctum"
Dunedin Consort & Players/John Butt — Mass in B Minor, BWV 232 (Linn, 2010)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Orlandus Lassus: "Suzanne ung jour"
Concentus/Wendy Gillespie and Paul Elliot — Music from the JSS Manuscript (Lilly Library) (Live performance, Indiana University, April 18, 2010)
album cover
Tarquinio Merula: "Nominativo hic"
Concentus/Wendy Gillespie and Paul Elliot — Music from the JSS Manuscript (Lilly Library) (Live performance, Indiana University, April 18, 2010)
album cover
"Stella splendens in monte," "Cuncti simus concanentes: Ave Maria"
Capella de Ministrers/Carles Magraner — Llibre Vermell (Licanus, 2002)
Buy from Amazon »
album cover
Bernard Gordillo

Bernard Gordillo was born in Managua, Nicaragua, and raised in New Orleans. He holds degrees from Centenary College of Louisiana, the Early Music Institute at Indiana University, and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (London). Bernard also writes and hosts the Harmonia Early Music Podcast.

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