December 29, 2019
benaroya hall, seattle
Corelli and the Splendor of the Baroque
A festive evening of early Baroque treasures by Salamone Rossi, Isabella Leonarda, Heinrich Biber, and Arcangelo Corelli.
“Violinist Ingrid Matthews was particularly felicitous, playing with great verve and style.”
— Mark Satola, Cleveland Plain Dealer
Rachell Ellen Wong
Four pieces for two violins and continuo
Trio-sonata op. 16, no. 1
Trio-sonata in C
Sonata in D Minor, op. 5, no. 12 “Folia”
Passacaglia for solo violin
Sonata Tribus Quadrantibus
Trio-sonata in G Minor, op. 1, no. 10
Sonata in D Major for trumpet, two violins, and continuo
“Here was an intelligently programmed and charmingly presented concert that mixed masterworks with some fascinating novelties.”
— Thomas May, Memeteria
The music of Arcangelo Corelli is a culmination of a century of innovation in European music. The early 17th century marked the beginning of what we now call the Baroque Era. At that time composers made a conscious choice to break from the traditions of the Renaissance. These composers often identified the music they were writing as “new” or “modern.”
Much of the earliest published instrumental music was for unspecified instruments. Salamone Rossi was the first to publish music specifically for violins. He was also the first to publish trio-sonatas: sonatas for two violins and continuo such as the examples on tonight’s program. Rossi was employed as a violinist and composer at the Mantua court. He published many volumes of secular vocal and instrumental music as well as a rare example of polyphonic Jewish liturgical music. Aside from the music he published there is no trace of Rossi after the destruction of Mantua’s Jewish ghetto in 1630.
In the second half of the 17th century the new music which had first developed in northern Italy spread throughout Europe. Many musicians traveled and learned different ways of making music from colleagues of other nationalities. Godfrey Finger was a Moravian viol player employed at the English court of James II. Heinrich Biber, probably the most famous violinist of the 17th century, was born in a small town in Bohemia and spent most of his career at the Salzburg court where Leopold Mozart later worked. Pavel Josef Vejvanovský, a Moravian trumpet virtuoso, was music director for the Habsburg court in Kromeriz where he also worked with both Finger and Biber.
Arcangelo Corelli was a great violinist and one of the most influential European composers of any era. His perfectly constructed music was widely imitated and formed the basis for what would become known as common practice harmony.