Scarlatti and the question of faith

To believe or not to believe... © Charles Thibo
To believe or not to believe… © Charles Thibo

Today, the center stage will be taken not by a composer, but by a singer. Cecilia Bartoli, a fantastic Italian mezzo-soprano opera singer and recitalist. Born in Rome in 1966, she has been first taught by her parents and later studied at the Santa Cecilia Conservatorium, the very same that Ottorino Respighi directed for a short time at the beginning of the 20th century. Continue reading!

Corelli is rocking the palaces of Rome

Corelli's music gives us a taste of the good life in Rome at the end of the 17th century. © Charles Thibo
Corelli’s music gives us a taste of the good life in Rome at the end of the 17th century. © Charles Thibo

It was love at first sight, or rather love at the first sounds. Arcangelo Corelli, an Italian Baroque composer, wrote 12 concerti grossi Op. 6, works for chamber music ensembles, and the way they are played by Amandine Beyer’s formation “Gli Incogniti” is just stupendous. I can’t sit still, when I am enjoying these pieces, some parts of me always have to move: arms, shoulders legs. This rocks, really! And it’s over 300 years old.

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Bach is God. Bach is cool.

Join the trance with Johann Sebastian Bach. © Charles Thibo
Join the trance with Johann Sebastian Bach. © Charles Thibo

“There is no other God than Bach and Mendelssohn is his prophet!” exclaimed the French composer Hector Berlioz after Felix Mendelssohn had performed in 1841 in the German town of Leipzig the St. Matthew’s Passion, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach and first performed in that very same town in 1727. Felix Mendelssohn has done much to resuscitate Bach’s works. He established himself as a composer and conductor in 1829 when he had the St. Matthew’s Passion performed for the first time in Germany after almost 100 years. He was 20 years old then, and the concert was one of the top musical events in Berlin that year. But today’s post is not about Mendelssohn, it’s about Bach! Continue reading!

Revolutionizing music while serving Italian princes

Monteverdi composed beautiful sacred music. © Charles Thibo
Monteverdi composed beautiful sacred music. © Charles Thibo

Ah, Monteverdi!  What a daring man. He revolutionized music in the 16th and 17th century in several ways. While at the service of different Italian princes, he became a prolific composer of both sacred and secular music. He wrote one “Book of Madrigals*” after the other – nine in total – with some 400 pieces.

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