Concert Reviews | CD Reviews | DVD Reviews | Opera | Early Music | News | Film | Art | Books | Kids

29.8.06

Orpheus to Be Torn to Bits at Royaumont

So many music festivals, so little time. The latest I read about was the fall festival at the Abbaye de Royaumont (August 26 to October 15), where there is a series of works on the Orpheus legend on the schedule this year. Jean-Louis Validire wrote an article (Orphée descend à Royaumont, August 26) in Le Figaro (my translation):

The Orpheus myth will serve as the unifying thread of the new concert season at Royaumont, which will open tonight with the performance of La Favola di Orfeo by Angelo Poliziano, a 15th-century Tuscan composer, the friend and poet of Lorenzo il Magnifico. Francis Biggi will handle the musical direction of this work that inspired Monteverdi's Orfeo. On September 30, the musicians of Vincent Dumestre's Poème Harmonique will perform Domenico Bellini's Orfeo Dolente, created in Florence in 1616 and which is, as its name indicates, a long lamentation by the hero whose Eurydice is absent. Finally to close this series, on October 7 one can hear Marc-Antoine Charpentier's Orphée descendant aux enfers, played by Il seminario Musicale, founded in 1985 by Gérard Lesne, who has been in residence at the Fondation Royaumont since 1990.
available at Amazon
La Favola di Orfeo, music by Tromboncino et al., Huelgas Ensemble, Paul van Nevel (recorded in 1981, released on CD in 1998)
As Validire notes, the Charpentier Orphée is a performance of the shorter cantata version from 1683, based on work that Gérard Lesne carried out with his graduate students on the cantata in France. This is the sort of program that makes my musicologist's heart sing, as you can imagine. However, I am not sure about the music being performed for the Poliziano work, as Poliziano was not a composer at all. At least some of the text was sung at the original performance, but no musical score has survived. Unless this group is sitting on a major find, this performance is probably a reconstruction like what the Huelgas Ensemble did, adapting the music of composers of the period to the words of Poliziano's libretto.

Finally, it never ceases to amaze me when I discover valuable documents tucked away in a corner of the Internets: the North Texas State University library has scanned a copy of Poliziano's La Favola di Orfeo (a later edition printed in Padua in 1749), formerly owned by a professor of music history there, Isaac Lloyd Hibberd.

No comments: