La Pellegrina: Intermedii et Concerti (1589)

La Pellegrina
Music for the Wedding of Ferdinando de' Medici and Christine de Lorraine, Princess of France (Florence 1589)
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony Vivarte 63362 (2 CDs)

Contents:

    Intermedio I: l'Armonia delle sfere

  1. Cavalieri (c.1550-1602): Dalle più alte sfere
  2. Cristofano Malvezzi (1547-1599): Noi che cantando
  3. Malvezzi: Sinfonia
  4. Malvezzi: Dolcissime Sirene
  5. Malvezzi: A voi reali amanti
  6. Malvezzi: Coppia gentil
  7. Intermedio II: La Gara fra Muse e Pieridi

  8. Marenzio (c.1554-1599): Sinfonia
  9. Marenzio: Belle ne fe' natura
  10. Marenzio: Chi dal delfino aita
  11. Marenzio: Se nelle voci nostre
  12. Marenzio: O figlie di Piero
  13. Intermedio III: Il combattimento pitico d'Apollo

  14. Marenzio: Qui di carne si sfama
  15. Mathias Werrecore (d.c.1574): Sinfonia - La Bataglia Taliana
  16. Marenzio: O valoroso Dio
  17. Marenzio: O mille volte

    Intermedio IV: La regione de' Demoni

  1. Caccini (c.1545-1618): Io che dal ciel cader
  2. Malvezzi: Sinfonia
  3. Malvezzi: Or che le due grand' alme
  4. Giovanni de' Bardi (1534-1612): Miseri habitator del cieco Averno
  5. Intermedio V: Il canto d'Arione

  6. Malvezzi: Io che l'onde raffreno
  7. Malvezzi: E noi con questa bella diva
  8. Malvezzi: Sinfonia
  9. Jacopo Peri (1561-1633): Dunque fra torbide onde
  10. Malvezzi: Lieti solcando il mare
  11. Intermedio VI: La discesa d'Apollo e Bacco col Ritmo e l'Armonia

  12. Malvezzi: Dal vago el bel sereno
  13. Malvezzi: O qual risplende nube
  14. Cavalieri: Godi turba mortal
  15. Malvezzi: O fortunato giorno
  16. Cavalieri: O che nuovo miracolo

Performers: Elisabeth Hermans (soprano), Els Van Laethem (soprano), Christel Boiron (mezzo-soprano), Cécile Kempenaers (mezzo-soprano), Caroline Magalhaes (mezzo-soprano), Marie-Claude Vallin (mezzo-soprano), Katelijne Van Laethem (mezzo-soprano), Pascal Bertin (alto), Peter De Groot (alto), Christopher Kale (tenor), Eric Mentzel (tenor), Eitan Sorek (tenor), Marius Van Altena (tenor), Harry Van Berne (tenor), Matthew Vine (tenor), Jasper Schweppe (baritone), Job Boswinkel (bass), Willem Ceuleers (bass, gravicembalo), Lieven Deroo (bass), Stéphan MacLeod (bass), Roberto Festa (recitant), Dolores Costoyas (lute, cittern), Charles-Eduard Fantin (lute, chitarrone, guitar), Eugène Ferré (lute, guitar), Philippe Malfeyt (lute, psaltery), Jerôme Blum (lute), Juan Sébastien Lima (chitarrone), Hannelore Devaere (harp), Marion Fourquier (harp), Françoise Johannel (harp), Ann Van Laethem (violin), René Van Laken (lira da braccio, cembalino, drum), Daniel Spector (lira da braccio), Mathieu Lusson (great bass viol), Paulina Van Laarhoven (lirone), Christine Kyprianides (viol), Ann Gail Schroeder (viol), Piet Strijckers (viol), Frank Liegeois (viol, gamba), Jan Van Den Borre (flute), Bart Coen (recorder), Peter Declercq (recorder), Baldrick Deerenberg (recorder), Jean Tubery (cornet), Jean Jacques Herbin (sackbut), Franck Poitrineau (sackbut), Joost Swinkels (sackbut), Serge Guillou (sackbut), Michèle Vandenbroucque (dulcian)

Playing time: 105'

Recording date: July 1997 (France)

This is an expansive full rendition of the set of musical interludes composed to climax the wedding celebrations of Ferdinando de' Medici and Christine de Lorraine. The extravagant original performance engaged some of the most famous musicians of the era, perhaps headlined by some of the composers who would go on to compose the first oratorios & operas. In this case, it was Cavalieri who had charge of the overall musical conception, leading to some vicious arguments among the different composers. This series of musical scenes, originally designed as "intermedios" or intermissions to a stage drama must be seen as one of most important immediate precursors to opera. The score was published in 1591 by Cristofano Malvezzi, including several notes on instrumentation.

The present interpretation emphasizes this proto-Baroque aspect in the overal conception, although pieces by composers such as Marenzio continue to be in what might be called the Renaissance madrigal style.

Other recordings dedicated to this famous music:

Una Stravaganza dei Medici
Intermedi (1589) per "La Pellegrina"
Taverner Consort, Choir & Players - Andrew Parrott
EMI Reflexe 47998
La Pellegrina - Intermedii, 1589
Capriccio Stravagante Renaissance Orchestra & Soloists / Collegium Vocale Gent - Skip Sempé
Paradizo 0004
La Pellegrina
Intermedii et Concerti zur Hochzeit des Don Ferdinando Medici und der Madama Christiana di Loreno
Stockholmer Kammerchor - Eric Ericson / Linde Consort - Hans-Martin Linde
EMI Reflexe 30 114/15 (2 LPs)
A Florentine Festival
Musica Reservata - Michael Morrow & John Beckett
Argo 602 (LP)

A recording devoted to Cristofano Malvezzi (1547-1599):

Malvezzi: Madrigali a 5 e 6 voci
Musica Figurata - Stefano Lorenzetti
Tactus 541301

Other lavish Florentine celebrations of the period:

Firenze 1539
Music for the wedding of the Duke of Florence, Cosimo de Medici and Leonora da Tolleto
Centre de musique ancienne de Geneva, etc. - Gabriel Garrido
Tactus 530001
Trionfi!
A Florentine Festival
New London Consort - Philip Pickett
L'Oiseau Lyre 436 718

Finally, an earlier recording by the present ensemble, featuring a somewhat analogous production in Mantua:

La Favola di Orfeo
Huelgas Ensemble - Paul Van Nevel
Sony Seon 60095 (2 CDs)

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Todd M. McComb