Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale | Tiorba Obbligata

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Classical: Early Music Classical: Baroque Moods: Type: Instrumental
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Tiorba Obbligata

by Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale

This colourful recording showcases the art of the obbligato theorbo-virtuosic solo writing for theorbo, with and without accompaniment-from 17th century Italy. Seldom heard today, several of these pieces have never been recorded before.
Genre: Classical: Early Music
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
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1. Sonata No. 3 in G Major: I. Grave
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:26 $0.99
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2. Sonata No. 3 in G Major: II. Sua Corrente
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
1:47 $0.99
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3. Sonata No. 3 in G Major: III. Sua Sarabanda
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
1:34 $0.99
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4. Sonata No. 3 in G Major: IV. Sua Gigue
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
1:54 $0.99
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5. Sonata No. 8 in C Major: I. Grave
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:12 $0.99
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6. Sonata No. 8 in C Major: II. Sua Alemanda
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
3:22 $0.99
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7. Sonata No. 8 in C Major: III. Sua Corrente
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:12 $0.99
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8. Sonata No. 8 in C Major: IV. Sua Sarabanda
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
1:04 $0.99
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9. Tenore Detto Il Mercatello
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
3:47 $0.99
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10. Corrente Detto Nasazzo Sopra Il Mercatello
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:05 $0.99
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11. Toccata VI
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
3:25 $0.99
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12. Chiaccona in Partite Variate
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:45 $0.99
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13. Sonata No. 9 in E Minor: I. Grave
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:50 $0.99
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14. Sonata No. 9 in E Minor: II. Sua Corrente
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:17 $0.99
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15. Sonata No. 9 in E Minor: III. Sua Sarabanda
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
1:41 $0.99
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16. Sonata No. 9 in E Minor: IV. Sua Gigue
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:40 $0.99
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17. Preludio X
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
0:46 $0.99
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18. Capona
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
1:16 $0.99
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19. Kapsberger
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
3:41 $0.99
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20. Canario
Madeleine Owen & Ensemble La Cigale
2:03 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.

ABOUT THIS ALBUM


Album Notes
About the group:

The cicada develops slowly, secretly, over a period of years before presenting itself in style with a song which everyone can hear and appreciate. In the well-known fable, the ants belittled the cicada for doing nothing but share its music. Perhaps they forgot how the cicada’s song lightened their labour and allowed them to dream, to rejoice, to love and also to weep…

Formed in 2006 in Montréal, the early music ensemble La Cigale takes its name from this most musical insect and hopes in turn to share its music with anyone who would like to listen.

La Cigale is composed of a varying number of musicians and specializes in music of the Renaissance and Baroque eras on period instruments. The group creates programs that juxtapose formal and traditional styles, explore the links between literature, dance, visual art and music, and bring to light little known masterpieces. The musicians of La Cigale have been praised for the warmth of their performances and for the complicity they share with each other and their audiences.

The ensemble is often featured in concert series and festivals and pursues a wide variety of musical activities. Ensemble La Cigale has performed in the Montréal Baroque festival, outdoors on Rigaud Mountain (International Walking Day), at an exhibition opening at the Canadian Museum of Civilizations in Gatineau and for festivities at the Montréal Botanical Gardens. Musicians from the group have also had the pleasure of introducing music lovers to baroque music (La Grande Bibliothèque du Québec, in a concert-conference) and have performed for conferences of the Cercle interuniversitaire d’étude sur la République des Lettres (CIERL, Université Laval) devoted to interdisciplinary research bringing together literature, iconography and music. As well, La Cigale has collaborated for several seasons with the Projet Choral choir.



About the recording:


The theorbo was invented in Italy at the end of the 16th century in response to changing musical styles. The polyphony (multi-voiced writing) of the Renaissance was gradually giving way to a new accompanied monody (single melody). The new style needed accompaniment instruments that could lend support and depth to the soloist’s performance without distracting from it. In particular, the instruments must not interfere with the comprehension of a singer’s text. The new style of accompaniment, called basso continuo, consisted of a bass line with, or without, figures-number which indicate to the lutenist, harpist or keyboard player what harmonies to add. The player is expected to improvise and develop an accompaniment using good taste, experience and the rules of harmony. The theorbo was present in vocal music, early opera and more and more in instrumental music throughout the 17th and the first part of the 18th centuries. Certain composers, including Handel and Frescobaldi, wrote obbligato accompaniment parts for the instrument, and naturally some of the players of the instrument composed and published solo works too. There is a small but beautiful repertoire of solo music for the theorbo by Italian and French composers in particular. Girolamo Kapsberger, Alessandro Piccinini and Giovanni Pittoni-Ferrarese are featured in this program, but it is worth mentioning Bellerofonte Castaldi and Robert de Visée as important composers for the instrument.
The composers on this disc were all theorbo players who wrote for their own instruments. Each had his own distinctive writing style.
Giovanni Girolamo Kapsberger (c.1580-1651), though born to German parents, lived and worked in Italy, notably in Rome at the court of Cardinal Francesco Barberini where he was active for more than twenty years. His solo theorbo pieces show two contrasting styles. The toccatas are complex episodic pieces which exploit the range of the instrument and contain many virtuosic slur passages, arpeggiations and cadential ornaments. They have simple basso continuo lines added to the solo parts. Many of his other solo theorbo pieces take the form of variations set on repeated bass lines called grounds. Some of his grounds are standards of the time, and others, like the piece called Kapsberger, are his own. Harmonically straightforward, with idiomatic writing, strong melodies and minimal use of basses, these pieces are perhaps the most accessible of the repertoire. As a beginning player, his works were some of the first that I felt able to perform and enjoy. Indeed, the little Capona included in this collection is probably the first piece I ever played on the theorbo!
Alessandro Piccinini (1566-1638) was born in Bologna. He and his two brothers learned to play the lute from their father, and these four family members all worked as lutenists in the court of Duke Alfonso II d’Este of Ferrera. Alessandro Piccinini also held a post with the Cardinal Pietro Aldobranini, Papal Legate at Bologna and Ferrara. He explored many of the forms of his day and his style is vigorous and strong. The theorbo works feature many toccatas, correntes, gagliardas as well as highly developed variations on standard themes such as the Mercatello, the Romanesca and, of course, the Ciaccona, which almost every composer made settings of. Our ensemble decided to take Piccinini’s setting of this almost «pop» standard and, in the tradition, present our own arrangement of it here on the disc.
The least known of the composers featured in this program is Giovanni Pittoni-Ferrarese (1635-1677). He was probably born in Ferrara. Although trained in singing, lute and guitar playing, it seems that he was self-taught on theorbo. Apparently he worked very hard to learn to play the instrument and was able to establish himself as one of the top players of the day. He published two collections of sonatas for solo theorbo with continuo (specifying organ and harpsichord respectively). The sonatas are seldom performed and I believe never recorded, being often dismissed by scholars as minor works. The three sonatas that we perform on this disc are taken from the Opera seconda. They take the form of four movement pieces, alternating slow and fast, binary and ternary movements ( grave, corrente, sarabanda and gigue being a common grouping). The treble lines, for violin, were published separately and are identified as being by an unknown author. Interestingly, they are published without real identification of which treble goes with which theorbo sonata, and the matching movements do not always bear the same name! It was detective work to sort through them and decide which went together, and a further job of correcting and arranging to make them work! I find these pieces fascinatingly baroque in the suppleness of their instrumentation: the same sonata can be played as a solo theorbo piece with or without continuo accompaniment (for the bass lines are doubled by the theorbo itself) or with the treble line, again with optional continuo.

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Reviews


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Eric Blair

Baroque at its best
How wonderful to hear the theorbo and the ensemble play this music!
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john torunian

john torunian
Outstanding rendering by virtuoso musicians. Theorbist, Madeleine Owen, is wonderfully complemented by a remarkable ensemble. I was particularly taken by their rendering of Giovanni Girolamo Kasperber.
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Chris

Fantastic!
Ensemble La Cigale and Theorbist Madeleine Owen perform elegantly on this album....period instrument performance at its finest!
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