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Hotter Than Hell

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[Begin Theme Music]

Welcome to Harmonia…I’m Angela Mariani.

Paradise, Heaven, and Arcadia may be the pastoral setting of many operas, but Hell, the underworld, and realms of evil are home to many of music’s darkest scenes. Often, characters are visited by demons from Hell, or are drawn into it through temptation, evil spirits, and sin. This hour, 17th and 18th century musical portrayals of evil spirits, Lucifer, and Hell. Later in the program, darkness turns to light in our featured release, Epiphany: Biber, Buxtehude, Kapsberber, & Bach, by Three Notch’d Road.

[Theme music fades]

MUSIC TRACK

Claudio Monteverdi: L'Orfeo
La Cappella Reial de Catalunya / Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall
Alia Vox 2015 / B00XUIPXX8
Claudio Monteverdi
T.04: L'Orfeo, Act III Scene IV - Possente Spirto (4:38)

Orfeo convinces Caronte to allow him to enter the Underworld in search of his dead lover Euridice, in the famous aria “Possente Spirto, from Act 3 of Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo. The tenor was Furio Zanasi, with La Capella Real de Catalunya and Les Concert des Nations, led by Jordi Savall.

[Establish music, fade halfway for voice track music bed]

In the world of early Baroque opera, three of the most famous supernatural villains are the Sorceress and two accomplices in Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas. These “Wayward Sisters” open Act II by announcing their plans to bring ruin to Queen Dido and to Carthage, before disappearing along with dancing Furies while thunder rolls. Here’s the scene, performed by Les Art Florissants.

MUSIC TRACK

Purcell: Dido & Aeneas
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie, director
Erato 1995 / B078NTYMT5T
T.10: from Act II: Prelude for the Witches (Wayward Sisters) (2:14)
T.11: from Act II: “The Queen of Carthage…” (1:53)
T.12: from Act II: “But ere we this perform…” (1:10)
T.13: from Act II: “In our deep vaulted cell” (and Dance of the Furies) (2:22)

The Sorceress and her two witchy companions exit with a dramatic thunderclap, from Act 2 of Henry Purcell’s Dido & Aeneas, performed by Les Art Florissants, directed by William Christie.

Sorcerers also manage to get in the way of love in Lully’s opera Amadis. Louis XIV chose the theme for Amadis, which premiered in 1684. Not surprisingly, Louis XIV is also referenced in the opera. Here in Act 4, our hero Amadis and his lover Oriane are held captive on a dragon ship as demons from Hell dance.

MUSIC TRACK

Amadis
Les Talens Lyriques / dir. Christophe Rousset
Aparte 2014/ B01G7N2IDU
Jean-Baptiste Lully
T.07: Amadis: Act IV Scene 6: Prelude - Je soumets a mes lois l'enfer (2:14)
T.10: Amadis: Act IV Scene 7: Demons, soumis a nos lois (2:40)

 

We heard the prelude and demon scene from Act 4 of Amadis by Jean-Baptiste Lully. Christophe Rousset directed Les Talens Lyriques. 

Evil in the baroque doesn’t end with evil spirits. In Handel’s Oratorio for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, the devil himself appears, as a foil to angels, Mary Magdalene, and more. In scene 1, an angel argues with Lucifer, “you shall see how you yourself tremble on your knees at [Christ’s] great name!” Lucifer, in disbelief, argues, “I’ll turn Hell upside down…and bring war even to the Heavens!”

MUSIC TRACK

Handel Edition, vol. 8
Contrasto Armonico / Marco Vitale, cond.
Brilliant Classics 2018 / B07D9T4MG8
George Frideric Handel
T.08: La Resurrezione, HWV 47: Pt 1 Recitativo: E ben, questo tuo Nume (1:45)
T.09: La Resurrezione, HWV 47: Pt 1 Aria: O’ voi dell’Erbo (3:19)

An Angel vs. Lucifer recitative dialogue, and Lucifer’s aria, “O, you dread powers of Erebus” from part I of Handel’s Oratorio for the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. We heard soprano Klaartje van Veldhoven, bass Mitchell Sandler, and Contrasto Armonico led by Marco Vitale.                

Sometimes, the appearance of Hell or Lucifer isn’t so direct. If you’ve heard the phrase, “that is devilishly difficult” it might come from this piece by Giuseppe Tartini: The Devil’s Trill. In a letter, Tartini wrote, [quote]:

One night I dreamt that I had made a pact with the devil […] I [gave] him my violin to see if he might play me some pretty tunes […] I heard a sonata so unusual and so beautiful […] Immediately I seized my violin, hoping to recall some shred of what I had just heard – but in vain. The piece I then composed is without a doubt my best, and I still call it The Devil’s Sonata, but it falls so short of the one that stunned me that I would have smashed my violin and given up music forever if I could but have possessed it.                  

MUSIC TRACK

The Devil's Trill
Palladians
Linn Records 2015 / B001CJYJWS
Giuseppe Tartini
T.03: Violin Sonata in G Minor, "The Devil's Trill": III. Andante - Allegro assai (5:50)

The final movement, Andante – Allegro assai, from Giuseppe Tartini’s violin sonata, “The Devil’s Sonata,” also called “The Devil’s Trill.” Rodolfo Richter was the violinist with Palladians.

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: Danse royale, Ensemble Alcatraz, T.12: Anon - La ultime estampie royale (excerpt of 2:32)

Bonaventura Cavalieri’s drama entitled Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo features a conflict between the Soul (a soprano) and Body (a tenor). It’s a play with music, but not quite an opera, although Cavalieri was known to have tried to take credit for inventing opera, and it’s not quite a “music drama” in the sense that Wagner would have used the term much later. In Cavalieri’s work, the soul and body are torn between good and evil while interacting with characters representing good council, pleasure, and intellect as well as choirs of angels in Heaven, damned souls, and blessed souls. The stage is set as Heaven, Earth, and Hell. In the opening of Act III, Hell opens and closes several times, tempting Body and Soul. We’ll hear the beginning of that sequence: the sinfonia, “Rise up Heavens,” “You who are down below,” and “Souls that rejoice in Heaven.”

MUSIC TRACK

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
L'Arpeggiata / cond. Christina Pluhar
Alpha 2004 / B002A72GH6
Bonaventura Cavalieri
T.02: Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo - Sinfonia (2:10)
T.03-04-05: (cut together) Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo (Act III): Scene 1:
Salite pur al Cielo / Scene 2: Voi che siete la giu / Scene 3: Alme ch’in Ciel godete (6:20)

The Sinfonia to Act III, and a dramatic scene with the mouth of Hell opening and closing, from Bonaventura Cavalieri’s Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo  L’Arpeggiata was directed by Christina Pluhar.

For our featured release this week we turn from our devilish pursuits of Hell music to something utterly opposite: a recording called “Epiphany: Biber, Buxtehude, Kapsberger, and Bach,” by the Virginia-based baroque ensemble Three Notch’d Road. They bring together Biber’s Rosary sonatas with unaccompanied works by J.S. Bach and chamber works by Johannes Hieronymus Kapsberger and Dietrich Buxtehude. We’ll start with Biber: “The Visitation,” Sonata in A Major from Biber’s Rosary Sonatas.

MUSIC TRACK

Epiphany: Biber, Buxtehude, Kapsberber, & Bach
Three Notch'd Road
Three Notch'd Road 2018 / B07ZL77ZQS
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
T.16: Rosary Sonata No. 2 in A Major, “The Visitation”: Sonata, Presto, Allaman, Presto (5:12)

“The Visitation,” Rosary Sonata in A Major by Heinrich Biber. We heard Three Notch’d Road performing, featuring violinist Fiona Hughes.

Three Notch’d Road doesn’t only put violin at center stage—in concert, they often use recorders, bagpipes, sackbut, and voice. Here is Buxtehude’s viola da gamba sonata in D Major, with gambist Rebecca Landell Reed.

MUSIC TRACK

Epiphany: Biber, Buxtehude, Kapsberber, & Bach
Three Notch'd Road
Three Notch'd Road 2018 / B07ZL77ZQS
Dietrich Buxtehude
T.08: Viola da Gamba Sonata in D Major, BuxWF 268: Sonata, Allegro, Adagio (4:55)and heavenly hour of music with more music from Heinrich Biber: the Ciacona* from his Partita for Two Violins in A Major from Harmonia Artificioso-Ariosa.

MUSIC TRACK

Epiphany: Biber, Buxtehude, Kapsberber, & Bach
Three Notch'd Road
Three Notch'd Road 2018 / B07ZL77ZQS
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
T.15: Partita for Two Violins No. 3 in A Major from Harmonia Artificioso-Ariosa: VI. Ciacona (3:31)

Three Notch’d Road performed the Ciacona from Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber’s third Partita for Two Violins, from their CD “Epiphany,” our featured release this hour.

[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 fom 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. 

[theme music

Detail from a panel of the The Last Judgement by Fra Angelico, c.1431.

Detail from a panel of the alter piece The Last Judgement by Fra Angelico, c.1431. (The Yorck Project, Wikipedia)

Paradise, Heaven, and Arcadia may be the pastoral setting of many operas, but Hell, the underworld, and realms of evil are home to many of music’s darkest scenes. Often, characters are visited by demons from Hell, or are drawn into it through temptation, evil spirits, and sin. This hour, 17th and 18th century musical portrayals of evil spirits, Lucifer, and Hell. Later in the program, darkness turns to light in our featured release, Epiphany: Biber, Buxtehude, Kapsberber, & Bach, by Three Notch’d Road.

PLAYLIST

Claudio Monteverdi: L'Orfeo
La Cappella Reial de Catalunya / Le Concert des Nations / Jordi Savall
Alia Vox 2015 / B00XUIPXX8
Claudio Monteverdi
T.04: L'Orfeo, Act III Scene IV - Possente Spirto (4:38)

Segment A:

Purcell: Dido & Aeneas
Les Arts Florissants, William Christie, director
Erato 1995 / B078NTYMT5T
T.10: from Act II: Prelude for the Witches (Wayward Sisters) (2:14)
T.11: from Act II: “The Queen of Carthage…” (1:53)
T.12: from Act II: “But ere we this perform…” (1:10)
T.13: from Act II: “In our deep vaulted cell” (and Dance of the Furies) (2:22)

Amadis
Les Talens Lyriques / dir. Christophe Rousset
Aparte 2014/ B01G7N2IDU
Jean-Baptiste Lully
T.07: Amadis: Act IV Scene 6: Prelude - Je soumets a mes lois l'enfer (2:14)
T.10: Amadis: Act IV Scene 7: Demons, soumis a nos lois (2:40)

Handel Edition, vol. 8
Contrasto Armonico / Marco Vitale, cond.
Brilliant Classics 2018 / B07D9T4MG8
George Frideric Handel
T.08: La Resurrezione, HWV 47: Pt 1 Recitativo: E ben, questo tuo Nume (1:45)
T.09: La Resurrezione, HWV 47: Pt 1 Aria: O’ voi dell’Erbo (3:19)

The Devil's Trill
Palladians
Linn Records 2015 / B001CJYJWS
Giuseppe Tartini
T.03: Violin Sonata in G Minor, "The Devil's Trill": III. Andante - Allegro assai (5:50)

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

:59 Midpoint Break Music Bed:
Danse royale
Ensemble Alcatraz
T.12: Anon - La ultime estampie royale (2:32)

Segment B:

Rappresentatione di Anima et di Corpo
L'Arpeggiata / cond. Christina Pluhar
Alpha 2004 / B002A72GH6
Bonaventura Cavalieri
T.02: Rappresentatione di Anima e di Corpo - Sinfonia (2:10)
T.03-04-05: (cut together) Rappresentatione di Anima, et di Corpo (Act III): Scene 1:
Salite pur al Cielo / Scene 2: Voi che siete la giu / Scene 3: Alme ch’in Ciel godete (6:20)

Featured Release:

Epiphany: Biber, Buxtehude, Kapsberber, & Bach
Three Notch'd Road
Three Notch'd Road 2018 / B07ZL77ZQS
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
T.16: Rosary Sonata No. 2 in A Major, “The Visitation”: Sonata, Presto, Allaman, Presto (5:12)
Dietrich Buxtehude
T.08: Viola da Gamba Sonata in D Major, BuxWF 268: Sonata, Allegro, Adagio (4:55)
Heinrich Ignaz Franz Biber
T.15: Partita for Two Violins No. 3 in A Major from Harmonia Artificioso-Ariosa: VI. Ciacona (3:31)

 

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