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Le Nuove Musiche 1

Naples and Rome - Frescobaldi to Scarlatti’

Tuesday, February 27th at 7:30 pm
St Barnabas Church

Doors open at 6:45PM

Pre-Concert Talk 7:00PM

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Edoardo Bellotti, organ, harpsichord


Not all needs to be grand to be special. This new feature concert brings our audience to the intimate space of St Barnabas church, where Edoardo Belotti will masterfully showcase the full extent of the subtleties available on the one-manual organ built by Joseph Brombaugh. In a concert highlighting music from the Southern Italian schools of Naples and Rome, be dazzled by the works of Girolamo Frescobaldi, Bernado Storace, Giovanni Salvatore, Bernado Pasquini and Alessandro Scarlatti.


View of the Piazza Navona, Rome by Canaletto

Giovanni Maria Trabaci (1575-1647)
Canzon franzesa quarta

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
Toccata Quarta
Capriccio III sopra il Cucu

Bernardo Pasquini 
Ricercare con la Fuga in più modi

Domenica Scarlatti (1685-1757)
Sonata in A major K 208
Sonata in A major k 209

Alessandro Scarlatti (1660-1725)
Toccata Settima
Preludio - Adagio Cantabile ed Appoggiato - Presto - Follia

Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713)
Concerto Op. 6 nr. 1
     Adapted to the organ by Thomas Billington (London 1784)
     Largo/Allegro - Largo/Allegro - Largo/Allegro - Presto

This concert is generously supported by

Olive Olio's Pasta & Espresso Bar

Beotti Progam Notes


Single Tickets: $30 + tax & fees and $25  for Seniors/Students + tax & fees

Purchase your ticket by clicking here.

This concert is not included in the Festival Pass. Tickets for this concert must be purchased separately.

VCM Box Office: 250-386-5311

The Italian peninsula has only been a nation since 1870, when Italian troops occupied Rome and the city became part of the Kingdom of Italy, simultaneously decreeing the end of the Papal State. In spite of centuries of political divisions the entire territory south of the Alps has cultural affinities, linked to the Roman Republic and Empire, classical Greek-Latin culture, Christian tradition and even Arabic influences. Many of the new artistic and cultural trends from the late Middle Ages to the Baroque period came to life in the Italian peninsula and from there spread throughout Europe In the musical field, various forms were born in Italy: among them the Renaissance madrigal, the recitative style, the oratorio, the melodrama, the instrumental concerto. Even toccata, ricercare and canzona, among the most well-known forms of keyboard music, were born in Italy.

Furthermore, despite a substantial unity, Italian art and music present differences linked to local traditions due to heritages of the past, variety of political influences and connections with other countries. For these reasons it is quite difficult to present the richness and breadth of the Italian repertoire and styles in two concerts. The programs are therefore a selection of pieces which I hope will help to present some of the most significant aspects of the musical tradition of the peninsula, with particular attention, as the title already suggests, to the "Seconda Prattica," that is, to that compositional style which attributes great importance to the text in the communication of "contrasting affections" to the emotional involvement of the listeners.


In the Renaissance and Baroque, musical art, like every artistic expression, always referred to the canons of classical rhetoric, organized into its traditional five parts:
- inventio: the choice of topic or theme,
- dispositio: the formal organization of the chosen subject,
- elocutio: the choice of rhetorical figures and ornamental elements most suitable for
communicating the content,
- memoria: the memorization of speech in all its parts, and
- actio: the art of delivering the composition in the most convincing way.


In the musical field, the first three parts are a responsibility of the composer, the last two of the performer, without whom the composition remains on the sheet of paper. Italian music entrusts the composer and the performer with equal responsibilities. The Italian score, and in particular the keyboard one, is not able to communicate all its emotional and persuasive strength without the decisive intervention of the performer, who must grasp and convey the written and implied contents of the score itself. Exactly like in the theatre, where the actor on stage has the great responsibility of bringing the content of the composition to life and delivering it to the public. It is not uncommon to find only sketchy scores in the Italian repertoire, from which the learned performer must know how to extract and develop the content. Perhaps a comparison can help: and it is the one between Bach and Vivaldi. Bach writes everything in his scores which show a formally defined structure even in the smallest details. The written score could even be only visually contemplated due to its formal perfection. Vivaldi’s writing leaves out several elements, often providing the performer with a sort of outline on which he is called upon to make decisions. Vivaldi's violin is like a "prima donna," on the stage and, as Paul Everett, one of Vivaldi's greatest scholars, acutely recognized, the score of the "Red Priest” founds its coherence not on formal and structural aspects, but on the psychological effects created in the listener, a thing that Bach couldn't even imagine. What Everett writes about Vivaldi can be
more or less extended to all Italian music which has always had its point of reference in the theater and which has found its highest form of expression in melodrama.

I. The first concert focuses on the seventeenth-eighteenth century repertoire of the Neapolitan and Roman schools.
Giovanni Maria Trabaci is among the most representative authors of the former, Girolamo Frescobaldi of the latter. The Canzona Francese Quarta respects the usual structure of the traditional Renaissance instrumental canzone, i.e. the presence of multiple sections and the use of short and rhythmically incisive themes, imitated contrapuntally by the four voices. However, Trabaci encloses these conventional elements between two large sections: the first, introductory, with rhetorical pauses, ornate cadences and dissonances, and the second, a brilliant finale with virtuosic elements taken from the Toccata. The result is a composition with an ever-changing flavor driving the listener in a journey through contrasting emotions.
The Toccata Quarta by Girolamo Frescobaldi, organist of St. Peter's in Rome, is expressly written for the Elevation, the moment in which in the Catholic liturgy the celebrant raises the bread and the cup of wine repeating the words of Jesus in Last Supper.


The congregation is invited to contemplate Christ’s sufferings and death on the cross. Music must therefore guide the faithful on this path. Frescobaldi combines two elements of keyboard music of his time: the "durezze e ligaturae", that is, the extensive use of tied notes (ligaturae) which create dissonances (durezze) in the score, and the "affects", or rhetorical-musical figures, already known and used in madrigals, which represent different emotions. In the Elevation the most frequent figures are the ascending and descending chromatic passages and the dissonant leaps which are well suited to expressing pain. Giulio Caccini in his collection "Le Nuove Musiche" published in 1601 had provided a first catalog of rhetorical-musical figures.


The Capriccio sopra il Cucu, as the title itself suggests, is based on the well-known descending third interval characterizing the call of the cuckoo. The two notes of the cuckoo are entrusted to the upper voice, while the other three voices add other musical ideas to the main theme, treating them according to the rules of counterpoint. A very particular effect is therefore
created: the severe contrapuntal style of the lower voices is continually "disturbed" by the cuckoo which intervenes in the unfolding of the composition both at appropriate or inopportune moments. The piece therefore has a "witty" character, which goes beyond the rules, thus giving us one of the characteristic elements of baroque taste: being witty!

The style described so far, typical of the "Seconda Practica", did not cancel out the "ancient," or contrapuntal style in Italy, which in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries was still the basis of the musician's training. The Ricercare “con la fuga in piu’ modi” is a clear example of this. Bernardo Pasquini, a native of Tuscany, was an organist, harpsichordist and composer of oratorios and cantatas. Although he carried out much of his activity in Rome collaborating with Arcangelo Corelli, he was famous throughout Europe and had numerous pupils, among whom the names of Johann Caspar Kerll and Georg Muffat stand out. The Ricercare in the program is a large piece in which a simple subject is treated and developed using all the tricks of counterpoint, new subjects are added, and an increasing rhythmic complexity creates an overwhelming final section.

A program of Italian keyboard music cannot leave out Alessandro and Domenico Scarlatti. The latter is certainly better known than his father, especially for his vast production of sonatas whose rediscovery and circulation is mainly due to Ralph Kirkpatrick. The two Sonatas on the program present the two souls of the composer: K 208 the melancholic lyricism, K 209 the brilliant irony which, once again, recall typical aspects of theater and melodrama. Although better known for his vocal production, a large quantity of manuscripts contain Toccatas and other keyboard compositions by Alessandro, Domenico’s father, recently collected and published in six volumes. The Toccata Settima comes from a Neapolitan manuscript. It is a
rather large piece (about 30 minutes of music) divided into different sections: Preludio, Adagio, Presto, Fuga, Adagio, Partite di Follia. As was customary at the time, this evening's performance selects a few movements. The Prelude, based on a virtuosic perpetual motion of sixteenths, is followed by an Adagio cantabile, in the form of a true theatrical recitative which ends with a brilliant Presto. Scarlatti’s variations are among the most varied and virtuosic keyboard versions of the Follia, a theme of Iberian origin. In them, melody and virtuosity alternate, exploiting all the harmonic and melodic possibilities offered by the Iberian bass, and occasionally inserting other popular themes and rhythms, like the Neapolitan Tarantella.

The program ends with the first of the 12 Concerti Grossi Op. 6 by Arcangelo Corelli, defined by Muffat as the “Orpheus of his time”. This keyboard version was made by the English composer Thomas Billington who in 1784 published the entire Op. 6 in London "adapted to the harpsichord, organ or fortepiano". The perfect and balanced fusion of melody and counterpoint
is the distinctive trait of Corelli’s music that made him one of the pillars of the "classical" style.

The second concert offers a short trip to the lively musical centers of Northern Italy: Venice, Milan, Bologna. For reasons of time we consciously neglect other cities whose contribution to music was decisive: among them Florence, Ferrara and Mantua, in which the "Seconda Practica" came to life.


The program opens with a homage to the Venetian Renaissance school, of which Andrea Gabrieli is one of the most important exponents. The Toccata Primi Toni, preserved in the German tablature of the Fondo Giordano in Turin, is a significant and early example of the fusion of two musical forms: the Toccata itself, based on the main cadences of the church mode linked together by progressions and enriched by tirate, diminutions, groppi and other ornaments, and the Ricercare, a composition in strict contrapuntal style, a transposition of the vocal motet to the keyboard.

The "Canzone" is another contrapuntal genre that progressively freed itself from the link with French vocal Chanson and became an autonomous instrumental genre. The “Canzon La Novella" by Andrea Cima, a composer active in Milan in the first half of the seventeenth century, belongs to this genre. The theme presents an originality: in the first section Cima replaces the typical dactylic rhythm of the Canzona (one long note followed by two short ones) with an anapestic rhythm (two short notes followed by a long one) consequently emphasizing the accentuation of the first short note on the strong beat.

The dactylic rhythm appears again at the beginning of the main theme in the Sonata by Giovanni Paolo Colonna, maestro di Cappella in San Petronio in Bologna, preserved in an elegant printed collection of "Sonate di diversi Autori" edited by Giulio Cesare Aresti and published around 1690. The length and complexity of the theme, the elaboration of the exposition, and the rich use of harmonic sequences makes this composition a bridge toward the modern tonal fugue. The concerto form, developed in Italy, and in particular in Venice, at the end of the seventeenth century and in the early years of the eighteenth century, experienced great success in Europe, as demonstrated by the abundance of keyboard transcriptions. The original version of the famous oboe concerto by Alessandro Marcello, known only through a late romantic reworking, was rediscovered thanks to the discovery of J. S. Bach’s keyboard version. Bach’s transcription, although mostly faithful to the orchestral version, makes changes not only due to the technical needs of the keyboard, but also to instill a greater order, coherence and symmetry in the original score. Even in this operation one can notice the difference in sensitivity between Italian and German taste: the latter is in constant search of order and formal perfection, while Italian style often relies on the effect of surprise and to emotional reactions intentionally obtained through the apparent lack of formal coherence and the transgression of the rules.


The Venetian Giovanni Benedetto Platti was oboist, harpsichordist and composer at the court of the Archbishop of Würzburg. His keyboard compositions are contained in three collections of Sonatas. Despite the French title, due to the fashions of the time, the collection printed in Nuremberg is in Italian style and lends itself, as was customary, to performance on any type of keyboard instrument, including clavichord and organ. The Third Sonata in F major reveals the typical two souls of many keyboard compositions between 1730 and 1750: one of them is rooted in the past, in well-established late Baroque tradition, as in the case of the Sarabande and the Jig theme; the another one winks at the new "gallant" taste, through rarefied
writing, often just two voices, which enhances the melodic line, as in the case of the first movement and the minuet.

Contrary to the opinion of Igor Stravinsky, who considered Vivaldi the "composer who wrote the same concerto five hundred times" Vivaldi's orchestral scores, strongly marked by a theatrical style, reveal a singular emotional strength. In his writings Paul Everett identifies most of these peculiarities, considering Vivaldi as the first modern composer capable of psychological introspection. The Concerto "La Notte", written for flute and strings, supports this theory. Here Vivaldi explores the psychological effects that night and darkness create in humans. Restlessness, dreams, ghosts run through the composition which ends with an unbridled allegro recalling a nocturnal storm. Il Sonno (sleep) in particular shows Vivaldi's ability to explore the human soul: the bold harmonic successions create a rarefied atmosphere, in which sleep, dreams and night terrors are represented.

The Bolognese Giovanni Battista Martini is remembered above all as a great theorist and collector of scores, now preserved in the "Civico Museo Bibliografico" in Bologna. But he was also a brilliant composer of sacred music and sonatas for harpsichord and organ. The piece on the program is intended for liturgical use, and precisely to accompany the Offertory. According to tradition, the Offertory requires strong sounds, solemnity and liveliness at the same time. Martini fuses these elements using the “Toccata and Fugue” form. The first is a brilliant and solemn introduction where all the ingredients of the so-called gallant style are found, such as "Alberti bass" and an accompanied melody supported by long pedal points. The second, although traditionally composed in learned counterpoint, uses rhythmic elements and progressions typical of the modern concertato style.


The Elevazione by Pasquale Ricci, organist and composer active between Milan and Como, is another piece with a clear liturgical function. The piece comes from his “Methode pour le Fortepiano” published in collaboration with Johann Christian Bach, who was a few years organist in the Milan cathedral. The composition is an Grave Cantabile, based on the
melancholic solo soprano line supported by the thoughtful and discreet accompaniment of the left hand. At the end a fermata sign suggests the performer to improvise a cadenza, as customary in operatic arias. The Siciliana belongs from the same collection. Unlike the Elevation, here all the ornaments are written out in full, including the short cadences, because
this lovely piece is offered as a model for learning the art of ornamentation.


The program ends with a tribute to Giuseppe Verdi. The archives of Italian churches are rich in transcriptions and adaptations for organ of pieces taken from Verdi's operas as well as of pieces written in operatic style. This should not be surprising. Italian romanticism in the first half of the nineteenth century was based on two important statements: art must free itself from the past, and when it refers to it, it does so to better understand the present; art must be popular, that is, express the feelings and passions of ordinary people and help them in rediscovery their identity and political unity. 19th Century Opera fulfilled these functions and this explains why it was normal for the organist on Sundays to introduce and conclude the Mass with transcriptions that popularized the operatic melodies even among people economically unable to access theatres. The transcription of the Overture from "La Forza del Destino" is due to the pen of Francesco Almasio, Milanese organist and composer. Almasio had to reduce the complex orchestral score making it suitable to be performed on an Italian organ of the time, often with a single manual and a very small pedal, but always equipped with a large quantity of concert stops (Trumpets, English Horns, Cornets, Violas , Piccolos, Drums) which were extremely useful for imitating an orchestra.

I decided to conclude the program with Verdi, because the composer from Busseto is the perfect incarnation of Italian romanticism, which does not reject classicism but integrates it with new elements linked to the political events of the peninsula. His great interest in the Italian music of the past is well known, as is his sentence addressed to his contemporary musicians: "Let's go back to the ancient and it will be progress". According to Verdi, music, like any art, must express the feelings and passions not only of an individual, but of an entire people, who can see himself reflected in those works of art and find in them the strength to realize his own ideals of freedom, peace and happiness.

Edoardo Bellotti

GETTING TO St Barnabas Church

Parking Information

The Church is located on Begbie St. 

There is parking available at the church.


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 The Magnolia Hotel provides Festival audience members with a special rate during the Festival: a 15% discount on the best available room rate.


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