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Sonate Concertate

Friday, March 1st at 7:30 pm
Alix Goolden Performance Hall

Doors open at 6:45PM

Pre-concert talk at 7:00PM

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Marc Destrubé, violin and artistic director

Kathryn Wiebe, violin

Robert Fraser, sackbut

Jeremy Berkman, sackbut

Antoine Malette-Chénier, harp

Natalie Mackie, viola da gamba

Marco Vitale, harpsichord and organ


The flourishing of instrumental music in 17th century northern Italy gave composers free reign to explore a conversational (‘concertate’) style of composition, exploring the varied colours and interplay between string and wind instruments. The sackbut (early trombone) came into its own at this time, most notably in the works of composers associated with St. Mark’s Cathedral in Venice such as Gabrieli and Castello, who exploited its mellow timbre. At the same time the harp gained popularity as an accompanying bass instrument. We are thrilled to include two sackbuts and harp in the festival ensemble for this program.

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Piazza San Marco by Canaletto

Giovanni Andrea Cima (ca.1580-after 1627)
Capriccio a 4

Giovanni Paolo Cima (1570?-1630)
Sonata a tre
Sonata per il cornetto e trombone
     from "Concerti ecclesiastici a una, due tre quattro voci [...] et sei
     sonate per instrumenti a due, tre, e quattro
” (Milan, 1610)

Giovanni Picchi (1571?-1643)
Canzon Duodecima a 4
Sonata Sesta a 2
     from Canzoni da sonar con ogni sorte d’istromenti (Venice, 1625)

Alessandro Piccinini (1566-1638)
Aria di Sarabanda in varie partite

Giovanni Battista Riccio (ca. 1590 - ca. 1621)
Canzon à 2 canti e due bassi in ecco "La Moceniga

Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665)
     from Canzoni overo sonate concertate per chiesa e camera, libro   
Op. 12 (1637)


Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643)
Canzona Prima a due canti e basso
Canzon Seconda à due Bassi
Quattro correnti
Canzona Seconda a due canti e due bassi

     from Canzoni da sonare a una, due, tre et quattro, libro primo

Bartolomeo de selma e salaverde (ca.1595-after 1638)
Vestiva i colli à 2 (1638)
     from Canzoni fantasie et correnti da suonar ad una 2. 3: 4. con   
     basso continuo
(Venice, 1638)

Dario Castello (1603-1680)
Sonata Quarta à 2
Sonata Decima Terza à 4
     from Sonate concertate in stil moderno, libro secondo 


The health and safety of our patrons, musicians, staff, and volunteers remains a priority. We recommend patrons take precautions of reasonable comfort.

This concert is generously supported by

Good Bros Developments 

and Jim Evans & Associates


"Sonate Concertate" is a reference to a musical style originating in early 17th century Italy, marking the advent of the Baroque period. In this context, “sonate” is plural form of "sonata," denoting a piece intended for instrumental performance, as opposed to a "cantata," which is to be sung. The term "concertate" derives from "concerto," meaning “together.” The Concertato style was then a form of music where groups of instruments would share a melody “together” in alteration with another group of instruments, over a basso continuo. The modern concerto has since evolved from this concept to feature a solo instrument accompanied by an orchestra, but the root is the same.

This musical innovation found its early expression through the efforts of Andrea and Giovanni Gabrieli at St Mark’s Basilica in the late 16th century, in what came to be known as the Venetian School. The unique architectural layout of the Basilica, with its opposing choir lofts, facilitated a polychoral style where two choirs sang independently in alternation, a practice which easily translated into the instrumental domain. The concertato style quickly gained widespread popularity across Italy, as evidenced by the composers featured in tonight’s program.

Giovanni Andrea Cima (1580-1627) and Giovanni Paolo Cima (1570-1630) were brothers based in Milan. Both were organists, Andrea at the Santa Maria Maggiore Cathedral, and Paolo at Santa Maria presso San Celso; Paolo was the more famous of the two and is notable for being the first composer to publish a trio sonata.

Alessandro Piccinini (1566-1638) and Giovanni Picchi (1572-1643) were both lutenists. Piccinini held positions in Bologna and Ferrara, while Picchi was based in Venice at the Basilica di Santa Maria Gloriosa dei Frari in Venice. Giovanni Picchi distinguished himself by his keyboard dance music, and has the honour of being the only credited Italian composer to have an entry in the English Keyboard collection, the Fitzwilliam Virginal Book, although the details behind this inclusion remain a mystery.

Tarquinio Merula (1595-1665) was one of the Venetian School and played a pivotal role in the early development of forms such as the cantata, aria, and sonata. Although mostly based in Cremona, frequent troubles with his employers, caused by indecency or conflicts with his superiors, had him also employed in Bergamo, Lodi, and even Warsaw, Poland.

Bartolomeo de Selma e Salaverde (1595-1638), was a Spanish composer and virtuoso on the dulcian (precursor to the bassoon) who concurrently served as an Augustinian friar in Innsbruck, Austria.

Girolamo Alessandro Frescobaldi (1583-1643), a long-standing organist at St Peter’s Basilica in Rome, was one of the most important composers of keyboard music of the era, through his virtuosic toccatas and his celebrated collection of liturgical organ music “Fiori Musicali”.

Giovanni Battista Riccio (1590-1621) and Dario Castello (1603-1680), both based in Venice, contributed to the rich musical landscape of the port city. Riccio was known as a recorder player and as the organist at San Giovanni Evangelista. Castello, another member of the Venetian School, helped develop the older canzona into a more modern form of the sonata. His tenure under Claudio Monteverdi at St Mark’s Basilica had him oversee the piffari, an ensemble of sackbuts, cornetts, violins and viols. Castello may be credited as the key influence behind the title of tonight’s concert: the program concludes with his Sonata Decima Terza à 4 from the second volume of his "Sonate Concertate in Stil Moderno," offering a fitting homage to this playful musical style.

Paul Winkelmans


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

Purchase tickets by clicking here.

Festival Passes: $100 + tax & fees and $80 for Seniors/Students + tax & fees are also available for purchase here. 

VCM Box Office: 250-386-5311


Parking Information

Alix Goolden Hall is located at 907 Pandora Ave.

Patrons must enter the venue from 900 Johnson St.

The VCM parking lot is reserved for staff and faculty at all times. Street parking and public lots are available within short walking distance.


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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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