Schola Cantorum of Syracuse presents music from Michelangelo era Oct. 19 in Setnor Auditorium
Schola Cantorum of Syracuse presents music from Michelangelo era Oct. 19 in Setnor AuditoriumSeptember 11, 2008Rob Enslinrmenslin@syr.edu
Schola Cantorum of Syracuse, directed by Joyce Irwin, makes its Setnor Auditorium debut at Syracuse University with a special program titled “Music to Michelangelo’s Ears.” The Oct. 19 concert begins at 3:30 p.m. with a brief program by a viol consort, led by Alex Rakov. At 4 p.m., Schola Cantorum takes the stage with a concert of sacred and secular vocal works from 15th- and 16th-century Italy.
Tickets are $12 for the general public and $8 for students with I.D., and can be purchased at the door with cash or check. The program is part of SU’s “Rethinking Michelangelo: A Series of Lectures, Concerts, and Special Events,” coinciding with the SUArt Galleries’ exhibition about the Renaissance master. More information is available at http://michelangelo.syr.edu.
Emily Bass, president of Schola Cantorum, is excited to be performing in the historic auditorium, which she calls a “sensory delight,” and to be partnering with SU’s popular art exhibition. “Since most of our audience is comprised of early music enthusiasts, we try to present at least one concert a year that targets students and younger members of the SU community,” she says. “This event is an opportunity to perform for a larger-than-usual audience.”
At least 200 people in attendance will be from Rod Foster and Bette Kahler’s “Understanding Music I” (FIA 165) course, for which the concert is a requirement. “It’s a rare opportunity for SU students to hear a live performance of Renaissance music,” Kahler says of the fall event.
“Music to Michelangelo’s Ears” is thematically divided into five sections. The first, titled “Celebration, Devotion, and Tribulation in Florence,” features carnival songs and laude by Lorenzo de Medici (1449-92) and Girolamo Savonarola (1452-98), as well as sacred and secular music by Heinrich Isaac (c. 1450-1517). “Songs of Love and War” follows, with lively madrigals by Jacob Arcadelt (c. 1505-68), Philippe Verdelot (c. 1470-1552), and Josquin Despres (c. 1440-1521). Following intermission is “Devotion Prior to the Reformation,” featuring two papal choir works by Despres. “The German Reformation” is devoted to music by Johann Walther (1496-1570). The program concludes with “The Catholic Reformation,” featuring two pieces by Giovanni Palestrina (c. 1525-94).
As a sculptor, painter, architect and poet, Michelangelo Buonarroti (1475-1564) occupies a singular place in Italian Renaissance history. His formative years were spent in Florence, where he presumably enjoyed the court music of Isaac and others. Although Michelangelo often returned to Florence-notably to design the Medici tombs-he spent most of his life in Rome. Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling (1508-12) virtually parallels his writing of sonnets and other poems, some of which were set during his lifetime by Arcadelt. (Other famous settings by Franz Schubert, Hugo Wolf and Benjamin Britten occurred centuries later.) Roman contemporaries of Michelangelo included Despres, who worked with the Sistine Chapel choir, and Palestrina, who wrote a prodigious amount of sacred music.
Schola Cantorum is a chamber choir of 16-20 performers, amateur and professional, specializing in music from the Medieval, Renaissance and early Baroque periods (c. 1000-1700). The ensemble began at SU in 1973 as Collegium Musicum before renaming and incorporating itself in 1982. Irwin, who has sung with the group since 1985, became music director in 2000. Rakov, the ensemble’s former director, serves as consort master. Both Irwin and Rakov are widely recognized for their scholarship and authentic practice of early music. More information is available at http://scholacantorumofsyracuse.org.