In line with tradition and... against the grain

Wednesday 17 April 2019

The listeners, who came yesterday to the church of St Catherine of Alexandria in order to listen to Filippo Mineccia and {oh!} Orkiestra Historyczna led by Martyna Pastuszka definitely did not leave the concert disappointed, even despite the fact that the singer was absent due to his illness. Sonia Prina, a singer wielding a deep contralto, who decided to substitute the Italian countertenor, proved once again that her debut at Milan’s La Scala and her work with the greatest artists of our generations, presenting both classic and contemporary repertoire – including Christopher Hogwood, René Jacobs, Paul McCreesh, Marc Minkowski and Jordi Savall – were not accidents.

The audience had the opportunity to listen to Baroque and Classical arias composed for Pietro Metastasio’s La passione di Gesù Cristo – a reference to the programme Mineccia was to perform in Krakow, including Niccolò Jommelli’s and Diego Naselli’s musical interpretations of Come a vista di pene – an operatic libretto from 1730, which back in the day enjoyed outstanding popularity, originally illustrated by Antonio Caldara, as well as a poignant and moving performance of Vivaldi's Stabat Mater. Violin and orchestral sonatas by Johann Georg Pisendel, a friend of the Red Priest, and Alessandro Scarlatti's Concerto grosso in F major became an opportunity to show off the skills of the orchestra and its leader.

An evening concert at the Church of the Holy Cross taking place as part of the Sensibilità series was filled by the performance of a programme known from Alfabeto falso – the acclaimed (ICMA 2018 nomination) debut album by I Bassifondi, an ensemble created just five years ago. The instruments used by the ensemble refer to the ensembles popular in the Baroque period: theorbo and guitar (Simone Vallerotonda), the prototype of a bass lute – colascione and chitarra battente (Stefano Todarello) and percussion instruments (Gabriele Miracle). The creation of similar ensembles back in the day, often playing music at homes, was made possible thanks to a 1606 treatise by Girolamo Montesardo, which simplified guitar notation and changed it into a more practical, letter-based (alfabeto) tablature, which became available to laypeople. The adjective falso so prominently featured in the title of the programme was included there for a reason – galliards, passacaglias, toccatas, tarantellas, folias and arias – often contrafacta of popular songs and dances, composed by Giovanni Paolo Foscarini, Hieronymus Kapsberger, Antonio Carbonchi and Santiago de Murcia – took on a fascinatingly trance-like, avant-garde, jazz character. In a word – excellent play with convention, rewarded by the listeners with thunderous applause.


Today, we are going to see the joint forces of Capella Cracoviensis and Oltremontano led by Jan Tomasz Adamus in a Polish-Italian programme In monte Oliveti (Church of St Catherine of Alexandria, 7:00 p.m.), followed by Passione secondo San Marco by Giaches de Wert – Passion music of the Italian Renaissance, interpreted by ensembles Voces Suaves and Concerto Scirocco (Church of the Holy Cross, 10:00 p.m.).

Monika Partyk