Sebastián Durón was, together with Antonio de Literes, the greatest Spanish composer of stage music of his time. He served as organist and choirmaster at various cathedrals (Seville, Cuenca, El Burgo de Osma, Plasencia) until in 1691 he was appointed master of the Royal Chapel of King Charles II in Madrid. He remained in this position until 1706, when he was suspended because of expressing support for the Archduke Charles of Austria during the War of Spanish Succession, which ended with the victory of the Bourbon King Philip V. Durón was forced into exile in France. He died in 1716 at Cambo-les-Bains, Aquitaine (France).
Although Durón composed many sacred pieces, his main output was repertoire for the stage, mostly zarzuelas. On occasion of the 300th anniversary of Duron’s death in 1716, Rogério Conçalves and his ensemble A Corte Musical, joined by the Spanish soprano Eva Juárez, present on this CD a fine selection of arias taken from his zarzuelas. The pieces show great originality and dramatic quality and confirm Durón as one of the most important Spanish composers of stage music of all times.
Instrumental music from 16th and early 17th century Italy and England
Works by Tromboncino, Cara, Dalza, van Eyck, Hume…
For the ancient Greeks, the term mousikē (or the “art of the Muses”) referred to the arts of music, dance and poetry. The Renaissance adopted this classic conception and translated its muses into its subject. Women, as part of the mythology or of contemporary society, were portrayed as the most diverse characters: the beloved one and the traitor, the nymph and the witch, the mistress and the unsatisfied, the peasant and the goddess...
During the Renaissance, the woman was not only the muse of inspiration – as was the unreachable woman often found in medieval poetry - but she also became an active part of the arts. Great examples of this are the „masques“, dances cultivated in England and Italy (as mascherate) in the 16th and 17th centuries as a genre of social entertainment. These masked dances were a combination of music, poetry and dance based in mythology and allegories, and served as symbols to portray contemporary personages. Characters like witches, nymphs, mistresses and goddesses interacted in these musical plays and gave noble women of the court the opportunity to be on stage. At that time, female actors were not allowed in plays but found a way to participate through the art of dance, a genre where women were socially accepted.
With music from Italy, Ensemble La Traditora idolizes the woman with words of beauty and longing tears in solemn dances and the refined frottole of Tromboncino and Cara. With music from the Elizabethan England the listener is taken into the world of mythology where nymphs, satyrs, witches and mistresses dance to charming melodies. To finish, the woman is brought to back to earth in her different states of vanity.
"Ausserlesene, uhralte und neue Gesänge" aus dem Strassburger Gesangbuch (1697)
Wenn die Spielleyt - Early Music Freiburg auf der vorliegenden CD eine Reihe weihnachtlicher Lieder aus der Liedsammlung des Straßburger Gesangbuchs von 1697 ausgewählt haben, so scheint dies für ein Ensemble, das ansonsten seinen Schwerpunkt auf die Musik des Spätmittelalters legt, zunächst ein überraschend moderner Entschluss zu sein. Doch wird bereits im Vorwort zum Straßburger Gesangbuch betont, dass die Liedauswahl aus 'außerlesenen, uhralten und ... neuen Ges?ngen getroffen worden sei'. 'Uhralt' meint hier, dass die Melodien einiger Lieder in ihrem Ursprung bis ins Mittelalter zurückreichen können. Das Ensemble hat für seine Einspielung die betreffenden Gesänge aus dem Straßburger Gesangbuch in ein mittelalterliches Klangbild zurückgeführt. Das Ergebnis erschließt diesem Repertoire auf derartige Weise wieder einige seiner schönsten Melodien.
Regina Kabis, Maria Ferré, Albrecht Haaf, Bernd Maier, Murat Coskun, Gast: Judith Sartor
In the 16th and 17th centuries, the city of Évora was one of the most important centres of Portuguese polyphony. The gothic Cathedral of Évora was the scene of the development of the so-called "Portuguese School" which produced many important musicians who were also active in Spain and in the colonies of the New World. The Cathedral archive, housing numerous musical treasures, bears eloquent witness to this. Rogerio Gonçalves and A Corte Musical have recorded a selection of sacred and secular villancicos from this source on CD. The foundation on which the four singers present this rousing music is a colourful instrumental accompaniment consisting of Spanish harp and Spanish guitar, strings and percussion, amongst other instruments.The villancico was originally a polyphonic Spanish song with a secular subject; it was soon incorporated into the Christian liturgy and frequently used at high holidays and other religious festive days. In the archive of Évora, there are villancicos with Spanish as well as Portuguese texts, which is a rarity. Here, we are well able to observe the cultural variety, individuality and expressiveness of (early) baroque Portuguese music in the alternation between vocal and instrumental music, and in the contrast between secular and sacred works.