Carlo Gesualdo: Composer or Crazed Psychopath?

Carlo Gesualdo

Article from The Guardian originally published 18 Mar 2010 ( Carol Gesualdo. He’s the Italian composer-prince who murdered his wife and her lover, was into wild bouts of self-flagellation, and who at the end of the 16th century wrote some of the most chromatic vocal music ever conceived in self-pitying lamentation for his human condition. […]

What is the Reformation and Why is it so Important to Sacred Music?

Luther at the Diet of Worms, by Anton von Werner, 1877

from The Concise Guide to Western Music, Barbara Russano Hanning (Professor of Music, The City College and Graduate Center, CUNY) The Reformation began as a theological dispute that was set in motion by Martin Luther in 1517 and mushroomed into a rebellion against the authority of the Catholic Church and the spiritual leadership of Rome, […]

The Vespers

In 1610 Monteverdi published one of his finest works, the Vespers, comprising a Mass, 2 Magnificats, 11 “motets,” and an orchestral sonata. In it he combines solos, ensembles, choral writing for one and two choirs of up to five voices each, orchestral ritornelli (some in six real parts), in addition to a sonata, and obbligati […]

Commedia dell’arte and Early Opera

by Jon Cranny – stage director for Il Tirinto As with much of western culture, it started with the Greeks – comic drama, commedia.  But alas only fragments of the Greek comedies survive.  We know, however, that the Romans developed the form into a significant art form.  And the comic drama they invented has served […]

The History of The Lute

You’ve been to early music concerts and noticed a rounded back instrument being strummed or plucked, reminiscent of William Shakespeare and harking back to the sounds of John Dowland – the lute.  But do you know much about this instrument?

Recently I was doing a little research and came across this essay written by Jonathan Santa Maria Bouquet, an instrument builder and based out of Edinburgh University.  Read on…

Bernardo Pasquini – Italian Composer & Renowned Virtuoso Keyboard Player

Italian composer, Bernardo Pasquini was one of the foremost keyboard impresarios of his time. Born in Tuscany, he served in Rome from the 1660s as a highly connected organist, teacher, and composer ranging from operas, oratorios, cantatas, motets, and arias to suites, toccatas, variations and sonatas. A probable student of Cesti, Pasquini went on to teach […]