Hommage to Tarquinia Molza, “l’Unica”
Alberto Allegrezza: tenor, recorder
Michele Vannelli: harpsichord
Giovanna Baviera: mezzosoprano, viola da gamba and artistic director
Full price tickets € 15
Two people booked together € 25
Reduced tickets € 8 (students of music schools, young adults up to 30 years of age, adults over 65)
Tarquinia Molza (1542 – 1617) – Nella dolce stagion
Giovanni de Macque (1548 – 1614) – Mentre mia stella miri
Giovanna Baviera (*1988) – Hor ch’el ciel e la terra
Luzzasco Luzzaschi (1545 – 1607) – Canzon decima a quattro
Luzzasco Luzzaschi O Primavera
G.P. da Palestrina (1525 – 1594) – Eran le vostre lagrime
Ercole Pasquini (1550 – 1619) –Toccata
Orazio Vecchi (1550 – 1605) – Mentre mia stella miri
Felice Anerio (1560 – 1614) – Gagliarda settima
Luzzasco Luzzaschi – Aura Soave, Deh non cantar
Felice Anerio – Gagliarda decima
Giaches de Wert (1535 – 1596) – Il dolce sonno
Tarquinia Molza – Qual vite al campo sola
Marc’Antonio Ingegneri (1535 – 1592) – Mirate occhi miei lassi
Tarquinia Molza – Dopo l’aspra partita
Giovanna Baviera – Diminuzioni su Cara la vita mia di Giaches de Wert
Luzzasco Luzzaschi – Invide siepi , Ricercar primo
Felice Anerio – Gagliarda Undicesima sopra Susanna
Tarquinia Molza – O quante volte mi ritorna
Giaches de Wert – Era il bel viso suo
Giovan Leonardo Primavera (1540 – 1585) – La luce occhi miei lassi
On 8 December 1600, the Roman Senate granted the Modena poet, intellectual and musician Tarquinia Molza (1542 – 1617) honorary citizenship, granting her the title of “Unique”: she was the first woman ever to have received such an honor, attributed to her, according to the decree of the Senate, in honor of her extraordinary artistic and intellectual merits.
In addition to its vast literary production, now largely lost, Tarquinia Molza was famous for her musical gifts and incomparable ability to accompany her own singing with an instrument. Musical and literary skills led her, in the years following the death of her husband Paolo Porrino, to the court of Alfonso II d’Este in Ferrara, where she played a role of great importance in the formation of the famous Concerto delle Dame: moreover, in this period several of her poems were set to music.
Tarquinia Molza’s verses form a central part of the concert’s program: they appear both set on to music by Palestrina (Eran le tue lagrime), Marc’Antonio Ingegneri (Mirate gli atti, sonnet on her husband’s imminent death) and Giovan Leonardo Primavera (La luce occhi mia lassi) and recited to a sonnet aria (Nella dolce stagion, Qual vite al campo sola, Dopo l’aspra Gioca, O quanti volte mi torna).
Examples of Molza’s musical abilities form the other pillar of the program. Francesco Patrizi, in his unfinished treatise of 1577 L’Amorosa Filosofia describes how, after the formation and recognition of her literary talents, an extraordinary musical talent had been ‘discovered’ in Molza.
After a period of secret training, and once obtained permission from Porrino to receive a musical education, Molza very soon gained the reputation of being an excellent musician, capable not only of accompanying herself on the lute and viola da gamba, but also, at least according to Patrizi, to master counterpoint and musical theory—skills linked until then almost exclusively to male musical activity—to such an extent as to be considered in some respects not only comparable but superior to male musicians belonging to her same milieu musical.
Molza’s other very much appreciated characteristic was her voice, both for its color and for her ability to conduct it with musical taste and intelligence. The centrality of the solo voice is at the basis of the decision to revise the madrigals for four, five and six voices present in the programme. Pieces for solo voice and viola da gamba such as Giaches de Wert’s Sweet Sleep are tablatures, in which the lower voices of the madrigal are played by the viola da gamba to accompany the upper singing voice. In the madrigals of de Macque (Mentre mia stella miri), Ingegneri (Mirate gli atti) and Luzzaschi (Invide siepi), on the other hand, the five or six voices are set for two solo voices, viola da gamba and harpsichord. An integral part of the reworking of the polyphonic pieces are the diminutions and ornaments, inspired by the Ferrara performing practice of the end of the century and codified in the collection for one, two and three sopranos of 1601 by Luzzasco Luzzaschi, from which two pieces for solo voice are taken, Aura Soave and O Primavera.