Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Emmanuel Resche-Caserta, violin & guest director
October 13–15, 2023 at Jeanne Lamon Hall, Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre
Concerto grosso in D Major, op. 6, no. 1/7 (1714)
Suite from Atys (1676)
Ouverture – Airs pour les nymphes de Flore – Menuet – Entrée des Nations – Entrée des Zéphirs – Sommeil [Sleep] – Entrée des songes agréables [Pleasant dreams] – Entrées des songes funestes [Nightmares]
Concerto grosso after Sinfonia to Santa Beatrice d’Este (1689) & op. 6, no. 6/8
Élisabeth Jacquet de la Guerre
Suite from Céphale & Procis (1696)
Ouverture – Airs – Rondeau – Passepieds – Marche – Loure – Gigue
La paix du Parnasse: Lully & les muses françoises / Corelli et les muse italiennes (1725)
[Peace of Parnassus: Lully and the French muses / Corelli and the Italian muses]
Gravement – Saillie – Rondement – Vivement
Suite from Ercole amante (1707)
Ouverture – Entrée Acte IV – Adagio e con affetto – Entrée Acte V – Gigue
Grave & Ciaccona from Propitia Sydera (1701)
Guest Director and violinist
The young Franco-Italian baroque violinist Emmanuel Resche-Caserta has been concertmaster of Les Arts Florissants since 2017. He regularly leads various ensembles in France, Spain, and Belgium, and was appointed baroque violin instructor at the Amsterdam Conservatory in 2022.
After completing studies in Italy, France, Spain, and the US, Emmanuel created his own ensemble, Exit, with whom he has recorded for the Label Passacaille. His first solo recording is dedicated to violin music from Southern Italy in the 17th century, featuring some hidden treasures from Rome, Sicily, and Naples. His second recording focuses on a 1686 outdoor concert given by Corelli in Rome in honour of Louis XIV with a massive orchestra: Trionfo Romano was recorded at the Château de Versailles, and also recreated at the French Embassy (Palazzo Farnese) in Rome. This year sees him conducting Gasparini’s oratorio Atalia in Rome and Versailles with Hemiolia ensemble.
Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra
Geneviève Gilardeau (solo vln 2), Patricia Ahern, Valerie Gordon, Julia Wedman
Johanna Novom, Christopher Verrette, Cristina Zacharias
Brandon Chui, Matt Antal, Patrick G. Jordan
Cello/Basse de violon*
John Abberger, Marco Cera
Access full bios for core orchestra members at tafelmusik.org/orchestra
|* Confused by the names of the bass instruments?|
You’re not alone! The names of the various bass string instruments were far from standardized in the 17th and 18th centuries, often leaving present-day performers guessing as to what composers intended—and audiences scratching their heads when reading program notes. Nowadays we tend to simplify the terminology, as follows:
Violoncello (often referred to simply as Cello)
A member of the violin family, the cello is held between the legs and sounds an octave below the viola.
Keiran Campbell will be playing it in the Corelli concerti grossi and the Muffat Ciaccona, all of which feature solo passagework for the cello.
Basse de violon (French) or Basso (Italian)
A member of the violin family, it sounds in the same octave as the cello, but has a larger body and a deeper sound. All four strings of the French version (basse de violon) were tuned a whole step lower than on the cello.
Keiran will be playing the basse de violon in the three French orchestral suites.
Viola da gamba (Viol in English)
Literally “leg viola,” as it was held between or on the legs, as opposed to the viola da braccio, or “arm viola.” It was popular as a consort instrument: ensembles of different sized viols played all the parts. In the 18th century it became popular as a solo and chamber instrument. It has a lighter sound than the cello, with a fretted neck (like the guitar or lute), and as many as six or seven strings.
As the viola da gamba was rarely used in an orchestral setting, you won’t see one on stage in Vive la différence.
Although the term was used indiscriminately in the 17th and 18th centuries to label bass lines in the score, nowadays it is used to describe the lowest member of the viola da gamba family. Like its smaller siblings, it has frets and as many as six strings, and a clear, light sound. Used in various tunings, it could be played in the same range as the cello or basse de violon, or an octave lower.
Alison Mackay will be playing violone in the three French orchestral suites, in the same octave as the basse de violon.
Double Bass or Contrabass
This is the lowest instrument of the violin family, and sounds an octave lower than the cello. It was commonly used in orchestras in Italy from the beginning of the 17th century, but was not used in the French orchestra until much later.
Alison will be playing double bass in the Corelli concertos and the Muffat Ciaccona.
by Charlotte Nediger
By the turn of the 18th century, French musicians had developed a somewhat love/hate obsession with the music of their Italian colleagues. The Abbé François Raguenet published an impassioned essay in 1702 titled “Parallèle des Italiens et des Français en ce qui regarde la musique et les operas,” which ultimately favours the Italians over the French. His article led to an even more impassioned response by Jean Laurent le Cerf de La Viéville in his Comparaison de la musique italienne et de la musique française, to which he added a second part containing the Traité du bon goût en musique (Treatise on good taste in music), all in defence of French music. Music must be “natural, expressive, and harmonious, and must always abhor excess”—the very excess of which he accuses the Italians. Raguenet notes that the Italians find French music “dull and insipid,” and that the Italians “venture at everything that is harsh and out of the way, but do it like people who have a right to venture and are sure of success.” So the debate raged, and all the while Paris audiences flocked to hear Italian music and musicians, either to applaud them, or to revel in abhoring them. Some musicians sought to unite the two styles, aspiring to the elusive “goûts réunis” (reconciled tastes). As to the Italians, they generally seemed content to leave French music to the French. Vive la différence—Viva la differenza!
Corelli Concerti grossi
Arcangelo Corelli was among the first composers to write music for the orchestra independent of the opera, the dance, and the church. During a visit to Rome in 1681, the German musician Georg Muffat heard performances of Corelli concertos: “These concertos, suited neither to the church (because of the ballet airs and airs of other sorts which they include) nor for dancing (because of other interwoven conceits now slow and serious, now gay and nimble, and composed only for the express refreshment of the ear), may be performed most appropriately in connection with entertainments given by great princes and lords, for receptions of distinguished guests, and at state banquets, serenades, and assemblies of musical amateurs and virtuosi.” Ideal music, then, to launch our first concert at Jeanne Lamon this season! It was Corelli who popularized the concerto grosso, based on the popular form of the trio sonata for two violins and continuo, to which is added a four-part orchestra: when the two groups play in alternation a wonderful chiaroscuro is created. The solo or “concertino” trio supplies tenderness and virtuosity; the orchestra provides a rich sonority and solid foundation. Corelli started composing and performing concerti grossi as early as 1670, but only twelve were ever published, and those posthumously, as Opus 6, in 1714. Emmanuel Resche-Caserta has melded movements from several of the concertos to create two “new” concertos, the second also incorporating movements from a Sinfonia written by Corelli for Giovanni Lorenzo Lulier’s oratorio Santa Beatrice d’Este.
Lully Suite from Atys
France’s most renowned music master was born Giovanni Battista Lulli in Florence to a miller of modest origins. At age 15 he was engaged by the French nobleman Roger de Lorraine to teach Italian to his niece, cousin of Louis XIV. Why he was selected is not known, but his musical talent must have been recognized soon after his arrival in Paris, as it was arranged that he take lessons in keyboard, violin, composition, and dance. It was only a few years later that Louis XIV and Lully shared the stage as dancers at court, and subsequently the king named him “composer of instrumental music.” Lully went on to establish a style of writing for both the voice and the instruments in his operas and opera-ballets that was distinctive and came to be considered the epitome of French baroque style, somewhat ironically penned by a native of Italy. Lully’s musical influence spread far and wide and lasted for over a century. As surintendant of the king’s music, and ennobled as conseiller secrétaire du roi, his sway at court was unparalleled. His opera Atys was premiered for the court at the Château de Saint-German-in-Laye in 1676, followed soon after by public performances at the Théâtre du Palais-Royal in Paris. It was one of the king’s favourites, and was repeated for him several times over the next three decades.
Jacquet de la Guerre Suite from Céphale & Procis
Élisabeth Jacquet was born to a family of musicians and instrument makers, and played harpsichord and sang at the court of Louis XIV as a young girl. She left the court at age 19 to marry the organist Marin de la Guerre, establishing a successful career as a teacher and performer, and most notably as a composer. She was the first woman in France to compose an opera (Céphale & Procis), and published several volumes of both sacred and secular cantatas as well as instrumental sonatas and harpsichord works. The French lover of the arts Évrard Titon du Tillet published Le Parnasse François, a listing of celebrated poets and musicians. In the entry for Jacquet he notes that the greatest musicians and connoisseurs hastened to hear her play the harpsichord and that she had a particular talent for improvising preludes and fantasies. He goes on to state, “It can be said that never has a person of her gender demonstrated as great a talent as her for composition,” and her portrait carries the motto “I contended for the pirze with the great musicians.”
[As was the case with many operas at the time Céphale & Procis was published without the inner viola parts. In the excerpts we are performing tonight, these parts have been reconstructed by François Saint-Yves.]
Couperin La Paix du Parnasse
Ten years after Titon du Tillet published his Parnasse, the great French harpsichordist François Couperin published tributes to the two masters Corelli and Lully, extolling in music their distinct French and Italian styles. These Apothéoses culminate in a trio sonata: La paix du Parnasse. Lully has arrived at Mount Parnassus and meets Corelli, and the two are persuaded to play together to reconcile the two national idioms. In the score Couperin indicates that Lully plays the top line, with the French muses, and Corelli plays the second line, with the Italian muses. You may note that Couperin’s genuine attempt to create a union of the two styles still bears a strong French accent, as his trademark elegance and grace is evident throughout.
Bembo Ercole amante
Antonia Bembo was likely born in Venice c.1640; she studied there with Francesco Cavalli and in 1659 married Lorenzo Bembo, a Venetian nobleman, with whom she had three children. She filed for divorce in 1672, citing abuse, but lost the case. She escaped the marriage by leaving for Paris, having to leave her children behind. On the eve of her departure, she took her daughter to live in a Venetian convent, presumably for her protection. In Paris, Bembo sang for Louis XIV, who gave her a pension and housing at a religious community, where she remained the rest of her life. Her music survives in six volumes of manuscripts, comprised of cantatas, motets, a serenata, and a setting of the Seven Psalms of David, the text for the latter provided by the poet Élisabeth-Sophie Chéron. The volumes also include the score of Bembo’s opera Ercole amante, composed in 1707, with a libretto by Francesco Buti that had been set by her teacher Cavalli 45 years earlier. Her unique blending of Italian and French style develops gradually over the six volumes, which suggests that she has preserved her manuscripts chronologically. Many of the works, including the opera, are dedicated to Louis XIV.
Muffat Propitia Sydera
Georg Muffat was born in Savoy, which at that time included parts of both modern France and Italy. He is the embodiment of our French/Italian theme, in his music as well as his provenance. He spent time in Paris studying the French style of Lully, and in Rome studying the Italian style of Corelli, and included prefaces to his publications of orchestral music detailing what he had learned. Published in four languages (French, Latin, German, and Italian), they offer very detailed descriptions of the styles and techniques employed by musicians in France under Lully, and in Italy under Corelli. He may not have imagined that musicians 300 years later would learn as much if not more from these writings as his contemporaries.
Propitia Sydera is the title of the last of twelve concertos published in Exquisitioris harmoniae instrumentalis gravi-jucundae. The Preface describes the collection as “Music, both serious and light-hearted [gravi-jucundae], consisting of 12 excellent concertos worked out with great diligence for the special amusement of the ear in an hitherto unusual manner.” It also notes the “unique alternations, interruptions, and skirmishes between the full choir and the small solo trio.” In other words, these are concerti grossi in the style of Corelli, and yet incorporate the suavité and lightness of Lully’s ballets, the melding being the “unusual manner” he describes. The final concerto ends with a grand Ciaccona: a nod to the grand chaconnes that ended most French operas. The concerto is titled Propitia Sydera, meaning “Propitious Stars,” and its sparkling synthesis is a fitting finale, with the French and Italian styles finding harmony in the firmament.