2018-2019: Palestrina Revisited/Songs and their Offspring/Musica Nova: Music of Venice from Willaert to Monteverdi

Songs and their Offspring

From the earliest improvised harmonizations around Gregorian melodies, composers and performers have taken familiar tunes as points of departure in the creation of polyphonic music. This use of tunes, sacred and secular alike, is part of the broader tradition of the reuse and “improvement” of existing musical material, a practice that has sometimes seemed at odds with the more modern idealization of individuality in artistic expression. Convivium’s program features a broad array of songs and the musical offerings inspired by them.

Saturday, February 23, 2019  7 PM
Cambridge Friends Meeting House, Cambridge
Map/Directions:  Google Maps

Sunday, February 24, 2019  4 PM
St Paul’s Church, Brookline
Map/Directions:  Google Maps

Palestrina Revisited

At times venerated, at times dismissed, the music of Palestrina has held a special, complicated place in the history of music performance and theory, from the composer’s own time to the present day. Whatever one’s opinion, it is clear that Palestrina was among the most accomplished composers in adapting the traditions of Franco-Flemish polyphony to the Roman school of the late 16th century, a musical language where control of dissonance and musical pacing were of paramount concern. Convivium offers a program of works by Palestrina that demonstrates his talent in a variety of compositional practices and styles, from the venerable cantus firmus mass to the sensuous Song of Songs motet.

Saturday, November 17, 2018  8 PM
Harvard-Epworth Church, Cambridge
Map/Directions:  Google Maps

Sunday, November 18, 2018  4 PM
Christ Church, Andover

Map/Directions: Google Maps

Musica Nova: Music in Venice from Willaert to Monteverdi

The installation of Adrian Willaert as maestro di cappella at the Basilica of St. Mark in Venice in 1527 was one of the most consequential hirings in 16th-century European music. Alongside his efforts to revitalize musical life in the cathedral, Willaert was also a musical innovator, especially through the publication of his monumental Musica Nova, wherein he helped to establish a more direct (and, to 21st-century ears, more familiar) relationship between texts and music. After Willaert’s tenure, the positions of maestro di cappella and organist were filled by musicians still highly regarded today, especially the Gabrielis and Monteverdi. Convivium’s program explores the history of music-making in Venice from the time of Willaert’s reforms to the last gasps of the stile antico.

Saturday, June 1, 2019 8 PM
Trinity Lutheran Church, Worcester
Maps/Directions: Google Maps

Sunday, June 2, 2019 4 PM
United Parish, Brookline
Maps/Directions: Google Maps

Saturday, June 15, 2019 12 PM
Old West Church, Boston
Maps/Directions: Google Maps

Our June 15 performance was a part of the Boston Early Music Festival (BEMF) Fringe Concert Series.