Give Now  »

Indiana Public Media | WFIU - NPR | WTIU - PBS

Chiaroscuro: Darkness to Light

Read Transcript
Hide Transcript

Transcript

Welcome to Harmonia…I’m Angela Mariani.

Chiaroscuro is a technique in visual art that tells vivid stories through sharp contrasts of light and dark. Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Leonardo da Vinci all used chiaroscuro in their Renaissance masterpieces. This hour, we’ll uncover moments of darkness and light with instruments and voice. Plus, music from our featured release, Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci, by Capella de la Torre, led by Katharina Bäuml.

[Theme music fades]


MUSIC TRACK                                                                                         
Aus der Tiefe
Ricercar Consort / soloists
Ricercar 2010 / B013H14IYC
Christoph Graupner
Tr. 8 Chorus: Aus der Tiefen ruffen vir (4:32)

The opening chorus of Christoph Graupner’s setting of Psalm 130, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord,” from his cantata by the same title, performed by The Ricercar Consort,  from their 2010 release, “Aus der Tiefe.” We’ll hear another setting of this famous text by German baroque composer Johann Philipp Fortsch later on today’s program.

The arts can uplift, entertain, and inspire us. Sometimes, though, when we’re in a place of sadness, the best way to deal with our emotions is to lean in. In the English Renaissance, embracing feelings of sadness, and the artistic expression of that feeling, was very much a trend. John Dowland’s song “In Darkness, Let me Dwell,” for lute and voice, invites us to wallow in melancholy—with the world around us shifting into uncertainty.

MUSIC TRACK                                                                                            
In Darkness
Michael Chance, Tenor ; Paul Beier, lute
Stradivarius 2015 / B01G7NZNKU
John Dowland
Tr. 2 Book of Songs, Book 4, “A Pligrimes Solace”: In Darkness Let Me Dwell (4:17)

“In Darkness let me Dwell,” a song for lute and voice by English Renaissance composer John Dowland. We heard tenor Michael Chance and lutenist Paul Beier.

Melancholy was in vogue in Italy as well, where we meet Flemish composer Cipriano de Rore, who worked in Venice and Ferrara. Cirpano de Rore was especially skilled in madrigal writing, which brings to life poetry of Italian masters like Petrarch. In his Book One madrigal, “Now that the heavens and the wind and the earth are silent,” Cipriano de Rore paints sadness in a sonnet by Petrarch using vocal polyphony. The poem begins, “Now that the heavens and the earth and the wind are silent, and sleep reins in the beasts and the birds, Night drives her starry car about, and in his bed the sea lies without a wave. I wake, I think, I burn, I weep.” The poem ends, “a thousand times a day I die and a thousand am born, so far am I from my health."

MUSIC TRACK
I madrigali a cinque voci
Blue Heron / Scott Metcalfe
Blue Heron 2019 / B07WDDM4BG
Cipriano de Rore
Tr. 4 Madrigals, Book 1 (Il primo libro de madrigali): Hor che 'l ciel et la terra (5:22)

We heard the madrigal “Now that the heavens and the wind and the earth are silent,” by Cipriano de Rore. Scott Metcalfe led Blue Heron from their 2019 release, “I madrigali a cinque voci.”

Sometimes, we connect with feelings of darkness not with text, but with timbre. Instruments that play in low registers can evoke feelings of stability as well as sadness. Violone, bassoon, cello, theorbo, and organ pedals often provide a harmonic musical foundation for ensembles—the basso continuo group. And occasionally, these instruments are also given their own chance to shine. We’ll hear Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier’s sonata in A Minor featuring bass violinist Renato Criscuolo.

MUSIC TRACK(S)                                                                                                      
The Bass Violin Solo Repertoire
Musica Perduta / Renato Criscuolo, bass violin
Urania Records 2015 / B010MXCYBC
Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier
Tr. 31 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, I. Adagio (1:30)
Tr. 32 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, II. Aria staccato et allegra (1:03)
Tr. 33 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, III. Staccato e Arioso (1:20)
Tr. 34 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, IV. Ballo arioso e presto (1:04)
Tr. 35 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, V. Sarabanda staccata e presto (0:58) (5:56)

Sonata in A Minor by Italian baroque composer Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier. Renato Criscuolo performed on bass violin with harpsichordist Alberto Bagnai and baroque guitarist Bud Roach. 

You can hear highlights from recent and archival concert recordings of early music on Harmonia Uncut -- our biweekly podcast, curated and hosted by Wendy Gillespie. Listen online at harmonia early music dot org and through iTunes.                                                                                                                     

Theme Music Bed: Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royale, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 / B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal

You’re listening to Harmonia . . .  I’m Angela Mariani.                                                                              

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed:
Primavera un bouquet musical de Susie Napper = musical bouquet by Susie Napper
various artists
ATMA Classique, 2004 / B0041NIFFY
Domenico Ferrabosco
Tr 8 Io mi son giovinetta (excerpt of 3:30)
 
MUSIC TRACK
O Lux Beatissima: A treasury of gregorian chant
Cantores in Ecclesia
OCP / B005OUCZOK
T.28: Lux Aeterna (1:00)

Lux aeterna, eternal light – plainchant sung by Cantores in Ecclesia, from a CD called “O Lux Beatissima.” This hour, we’re exploring musical expressions of darkness and light. We heard a lot of darkness in the first half of the program, but let us not remain in darkness forever. Psalm 130 begins, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” The believer pleads with God for forgiveness and redemption. In Judaism, this psalm is used in the holy season for eleven days after Rosh Hashanah, as congregants prepare themselves for the repentance of Yom Kippur. We’ll hear a setting of Psalm 130 by German baroque composer Johann Philipp Fortsch.

MUSIC TRACK                                                                                                           
Aus der Tiefe
Ricercar Consort / soloists
Ricercar 2010 / B013H14IYC
Johann Philipp Fortsch
Tr. 7 Aus der tiefe rufe ich, Herr zu Dir (8:13)

We heard Johan Philipp Fortsch’s setting of Psalm 130, “Out of the depths have I cried unto thee, O Lord.” Greta de Reyghere was the soprano with Ricercar Consort.

One of the most well-loved musical depictions of darkness moving to light is a recitative-aria pair from Handel’s Messiah. Both texts are from the Book of Isaiah: “For behold, darkness shall cover the earth” and “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light” from Handel’s Messiah. Then, finally, darkness gives way to light in the brilliant chorus, “For unto us a child is born.”

MUSIC TRACK(S)                                                                                                                      
Handel: Messiah
The Sixteen , The Sixteen orch. / Harry Christophers, cond.
Coro 2008 / B01K8QCH9W
George Frideric Handel
Tr. 10 Messiah, Part I: Recitative: Behold, darkness shall cover the earth (Bass) (2:35)
Tr. 11 Messiah, Part I: Aria: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (Bass) (3:15)
Tr. 12 Messiah, Part I: Chorus: For unto us a child is born (Chorus) (3:58) (9:48)

Music from Handel’s Lenten oratorio, Messiah. We heard bass soloist Christopher Purves with The Sixteen and their orchestra directed by Harry Christophers.

Our featured release is Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci, featuring music from the time and place of one of the greatest minds of his age. Leonardo was a painter, sculptor, engineer, and philosopher. And what better way to describe music surrounding this Renaissance man than with a Renaissance wind band, where players often have to switch among five or more instruments in a single concert! We’ll hear Heinrich Isaac’s “A la bataglia” on shawms and sackbuts. 

MUSIC TRACK                                                               
Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci
Capella de la Torre / dir. Katharina Bäuml
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 2018 / B07FPYV37G
Heinrich Isaac
Tr. 7 A la bataglia (4:46)

Katharina Bäuml led Capella de la Torre in “A la bataglia” by Heinrich Isaac. We’re listening to music from our featured release, Soundscape: Leonardo da Vinci, released by Deutsche Harmonia Mundi in 2018.

In addition to his pursuits in architecture, art, and beyond, Leonardo da Vinci wrote music. His love of puzzles is evident in “Amore sola fa remirare,” “A musical riddle”—an improvisation based on words and note names. Hear the syllables in the title? Amo-re-so-la-fa-re-mi-ra-re.

MUSIC TRACK                                                               
Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci
Capella de la Torre / dir. Katharina Bäuml
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 2018 / B07FPYV37G
Leonardo da Vinci
Tr. 16 Amore sola mi fa remirare (2:01)

“Amore sola mi fa remirare,” “A musical riddle,” music by Leonardo da Vinci. Katharina Bäuml led Capella de la Torre. Let’s end with a cheerful tune by Marchetto Cara. The Renaissance courtier Baldassare Castiglione praised Cara and Leonardo da Vinci in his famous book, The Courtier. “Nor does our friend Marchetto Cara move us less by his singing, but with a gentler harmony; because he softens and penetrates our souls by placid means, full of plaintive sweetness, greatly stirring them to sweet emotion.” Here is “Tante volte, sí, sí, sí” by lutenist and composer Marchetto Cara.

MUSIC TRACK
Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci
Capella de la Torre / dir. Katharina Bäuml
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 2018 / B07FPYV37G
Marchetto Cara
Tr. 8 Tante volte sí sí sí (3:28)

“Tante volte sí sí sí” by Marchetto Cara. Capella de la Torre was directed by Katharina Bäuml.

[Fade in theme music]

Harmonia is a production of WFIU. Support comes from Early Music America which strengthens and celebrates early music by supporting the people and organizations that perform, study, and find joy in it....on the web at EarlyMusicAmerica-DOT-org.

Additional resources come from the William and Gayle Cook Music Library at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.

We welcome your thoughts about any part of this program, or about early music in general. Contact us at harmonia early music dot org. And, you can follow our Facebook page and our updates on Twitter by searching for Harmonia Early Music.

The writer for this edition of Harmonia was Sarah Huebsch Schilling.

Thanks to our studio engineer Michael Paskash, and our production team: Aaron Cain, Wendy Gillespie, LuAnn Johnson and John Bailey. I’m Angela Mariani, inviting you to join us again for the next edition of Harmonia.

chiaroscuro detail from the painting The Matchmaker

Detail from Gerritt van Honthorst's painting The Matchmaker, 1625. (artpaintingartist.org)

Chiaroscuro is a technique in visual art that tells vivid stories through sharp contrasts of light and dark. Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Leonardo da Vinci all used chiaroscuro in their Renaissance masterpieces. This hour, we’ll uncover moments of darkness and light with instruments and voice. Plus, music from our featured release, Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci, by Capella de la Torre, led by Katharina Bäuml.

PLAYLIST

Aus der Tiefe
Ricercar Consort / soloists
Ricercar 2010 / B013H14IYC
Christoph Graupner
Tr. 8 Chorus: Aus der Tiefen ruffen vir (4:32)

Segment A:
In Darkness
Michael Chance, Tenor ; Paul Beier, lute
Stradivarius 2015 / B01G7NZNKU
John Dowland
Tr. 2 Book of Songs, Book 4, “A Pligrimes Solace”: In Darkness Let Me Dwell (4:17)

I madrigali a cinque voci
Blue Heron / Scott Metcalfe
Blue Heron 2019 / B07WDDM4BG
Cipriano de Rore
Tr. 4 Madrigals, Book 1 (Il primo libro de madrigali): Hor che 'l ciel et la terra (5:22)

The Bass Violin Solo Repertoire
Musica Perduta / Renato Criscuolo, bass violin
Urania Records 2015 / B010MXCYBC
Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier
Tr. 31 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, I. Adagio (1:30)
Tr. 32 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, II. Aria staccato et allegra (1:03)
Tr. 33 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, III. Staccato e Arioso (1:20)
Tr. 34 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, IV. Ballo arioso e presto (1:04)
Tr. 35 Sonata in La Minor No. 1, V. Sarabanda staccata e presto (0:58) (5:56)

Theme Music Bed: Ensemble Alcatraz, Danse Royale, Elektra Nonesuch 79240-2 / B000005J0B, T.12: La Prime Estampie Royal

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed:
Primavera un bouquet musical de Susie Napper = musical bouquet by Susie Napper
various artists
ATMA Classique, 2004 / B0041NIFFY
Domenico Ferrabosco
Tr 8 Io mi son giovinetta (excerpt of 3:30)

Segment B:
O Lux Beatissima: A treasury of gregorian chant
Cantores in Ecclesia
OCP / B005OUCZOK
T.28: Lux Aeterna (1:00)

Aus der Tiefe
Ricercar Consort / soloists
Ricercar 2010 / B013H14IYC
Johann Philipp Fortsch
Tr. 7 Aus der tiefe rufe ich, Herr zu Dir (8:13)

Handel: Messiah
The Sixteen , The Sixteen orch. / Harry Christophers, cond.
Coro 2008 / B01K8QCH9W
George Frideric Handel
Tr. 10 Messiah, Part I: Recitative: Behold, darkness shall cover the earth (Bass) (2:35)
Tr. 11 Messiah, Part I: Aria: The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light (Bass) (3:15)
Tr. 12 Messiah, Part I: Chorus: For unto us a child is born (Chorus) (3:58) (9:48)

Featured Release:
Soundscape: Leonardo Da Vinci
Capella de la Torre / dir. Katharina Bäuml
Deutsche Harmonia Mundi 2018 / B07FPYV37G
Heinrich Isaac
Tr. 7 A la bataglia (4:46)
Leonardo da Vinci
Tr. 16 Amore sola mi fa remirare (2:01)
Marchetto Cara
Tr. 8 Tante volte sí sí sí (3:28)

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Harmonia Early Music