Musical Delicacies

— Early Music Concert Series —

Plakát na koncerty

Morte i begli occhi

Mortally beautiful eyes — Secular music of the Italian Seicento

Sunday 4. August 2013 15:00 — Veveří castle, CZ–66471 Veverská Bítýška.


Leonora Orsini (cca. 1560 – 1634)Per pianto la mia carne si distilla
Barbara Strozzi (1619 – 1677)L’Eraclito Amoroso
Diego Ortiz (cca. 1510 – cca. 1570)Recercada prima sobre Doulce memoire
Jacques Arcadelt (cca. 1507 – 1568)O felici occhi miei
Diego Ortiz (cca. 1510 – cca. 1570)Recercada prima sobre O felici occhi miei
Claudia Sessa (cca. 1570 – cca. 1617)Occhi io vissi di voi

Sigismondo d’India (cca. 1582 – 1629)Piangono al pianger mio
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583 – 1643)Toccata pro cembalo solo
Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583 – 1643)Begli Occhi
Diego Ortiz (cca. 1510 – cca. 1570)Recercada secunda
Francesca Caccini (1587 – cca. 1641)Lasciatemi qui solo
Settimia Caccini (1591 – cca. 1638)Due luci ridenti

About the programme

In the late 16th and early 17th centuries, a wave of new music attested to the increasing opportunities and autonomy available to talented female musicians, writers, artists, and composers in the secular world. This programme focuses on the genius and achievements of four remarkable composers — Francesca Caccini, Settimia Caccini, Leonora Orsina, and Barbara Strozzi — within the context of some of their contemporaries.

One crucial feature of poetic and musical dialogue stemming from the Middle Ages and before is a focus on eyes and seeing, in connection with love. The ‘eye darts’ occurring in medieval romances become an even more paramount theme after poets such as Dante, Cavalcanti, and Petrarch make their inaccessible loves immortal in verse. This theme is found in many texts in this programme, inspiring potent questions regarding the nature of sight and appearance, agency and passivity, in varied and changing ways. ‘Morte i begli occhi,’ — ‘Death in beautiful eyes’ can be, as we see, a rapturous experience or a sombre one. This is particularly interesting when considering the reversal of ‘roles’ inherent in the new positions these women composers attained, contrasting to that of male contemporaries: for, when the female (dart-releasing) eye sees, there must be a shift from traditional Petrarchan ideas.

Isabella Shaw

Motus Harmonicus

Isabella Shaw was born in Denver, Colorado (USA). In 2009–2010, she studied early music at Trinity College of Music in London with Timothy Travers-Brown and Sophie Grimmer. While there, she participated in projects led by Alison Crum, Belinda Sykes, Sean Farrell, Frances Kelly, Stephen Montague and Philip Thorby. She has performed with the Baroque Chamber Orchestra of Colorado, the choirs of Saint John’s Cathedral, Trinity College of Music Medieval Ensemble, and the Early Music Vocal Ensemble (TCM). She currently sings with ensembles Motus Harmonicus (ČR), The Clare Consort (Cambridge, UK), and was awarded a choral scholarship at Clare College, Cambridge. Isabella is currently studying English literature (with an emphasis on Medieval and Renaissance periods) at the University of Cambridge. She studies voice with Helen Groves.

Jakub Michl studied cello at Prague Conservatory with Tomáš Strašil, while parallely studying musicology at the Philosophical Faculty of Charles University, Prague. From that time, he has been interested in historically informed performance, starting with baroque cello. In 2004, he began studying the viola da gamba with Petr Wagner, and later with Michael Brüssing. After graduating from Prague Conservatory, Jakub was awarded a grant from the Foundation for the Support of Classical Music to study viola da gamba with Alison Crum at Trinity College of Music, London. There, he took part in masterclasses taught by Wieland Kuijken (2009, TCM), and by Hille Perl (2008, International Festival of Viols, hosted by the Royal College of Music), Richard Boothby (2009, RCM), and Jordi Savall (2010, RCM).

The ensemble Motus Harmonicus was founded in 2010 with the aim of performing music of the Renaissance, Baroque and Classical eras in historically informed manner. Its main focus is instrumental and vocal music of the 17th century, with special emphasis on works and composers not generally known to the present public.