Saturday, July 21, 2012

Baroque Music in Palazzo Da Mosto--and Elsewhere

Photo of the Belgian group Bel Ayre in Palazzo Da Mosto courtesy of Venetian Centre for Baroque Music
I'm sorry to be so late in reporting this, but two weeks ago today Jen and I found out first-hand how marvelous it can be to hear Venetian Baroque music performed not only on period instruments but in a period setting.

The setting in this case was the beautiful Palazzo Da Mosto (aka Palazzo Muti-Baglioni, after the family who built it in 1602 and the family who acquired it in 1750, respectively), which hosted two separate concerts on 7 July. We were lucky enough to go to both of them: the earlier, entitled Tanti Cuori, Tanti Dolori ("Many Hearts, Many Pains"), in the portego (pictured above), featuring the young Belgian group Bel Ayre; the later, Eri Già Tutti Mia ("You Were Already All Mine"), on the ground floor with the soprano Roberta Invernizzi and the tiorba (a sizable stringed instrument) player Craig Marchitelli (pictured below).
Photo courtesy of the Venetian Centre for Baroque Music

Both concerts featured extraordinary voices and musicianship, and some pieces by Monteverdi, of course. But the revelation for me were the pieces by other composers of the era who were active in Venice, such as, to give just one example, Benedetto Ferrari (1604-1681). Recordings of whose work, I discovered the next day with chagrin, seem quite difficult to find (except insofar as one of his duets was partly or wholly incorporated into the final duet of Monteverdi's opera L'Incoronazione di Poppea).

So impressed was I by Bel Ayre, in fact, that I was hoping to see them the very next night at Ca' Zenobio. They were playing an entirely different set of works (enticingly entitled Chi Vol Vedar Venezia Vera--"Whoever Wants to See the Real Venice"), but I didn't make it. Both concerts we attended though were so entirely captivating that we hope to see more of the Centre's series.

The last concert of the summer takes place tonight in Teatro La Fenice. But the series begins again on September 3. The link that follows will take you to ticket information and a full listing of their forthcoming concerts: http://www.vcbm.it/en/page/ticket-office

For more information on the Centre's cultural aims and much else: http://www.vcbm.it/en/page/presentation.

You can also check them out on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/venetiancentreforbaroquemusic

Information on the Belgian trio Bel Aye may be found here: http://belayre.be/ They're planning to record a CD soon, which I hope--in contrast to works by Ferrari--I'll be able to find easily.

In any case, whether you've never heard a single note of Venetian Baroque music, or whether you own a collection of every important Monteverdi recording ever made--or whether you're somewhere in-between--I suspect you'll find much to interest you in the offerings of the Venetian Centre for Baroque Music. It's an incomparable live and living introduction to an essential era of Venetian (and world) cultural history that's often experienced far too generically here(Vivaldi's Greatest Hits), if at all.

21 comments:

  1. Is this the very dilapidated palace near Rialto? I'm very envious of your experience- I love Baroque music.

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    1. I think the dilapidated palace you might be thinking of, Andrew, is Ca' Da Mosto on the Grand Canal which, if I remember correctly, passed out of their family's hand over 300 years ago--though it still has the name. The concert was in a palazzo that's not on the Grand Canal, but is a short way off of Campo San Cassiano, with a massive front door and imposing facade that makes one wonder if the narrow calle it presently is on was an open campiello when the place was built.

      I hope you'll get the chance to hear some Baroque music next time you're here!

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  2. Thanks for that. We're there in November ( for the Salute festival). Taking some friends who have never been to Venice. Can't wait to show them our favourite city!

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    1. What a great time to visit for the first time!

      Or the tenth, for that matter.

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  3. Thanks a lot for this story and for the kind references to our ensemble!
    We found this article just now, and in fact, we played this weekend in Ca'Corner della Regina, just next door to the Palazzo Da Mosto!
    Well, hope to see you next time!
    Kind regards,
    Bel Ayre
    Lieselot, Pieter & Pieter

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    1. I'm so sorry I didn't know about your concert this past weekend! I do certainly hope to catch the next performance you give in Venice.

      And if you'd like to leave a comment here when your CD is ready for release--or the next time you'll be playing in Venice--I'd be glad to share that information with everyone.

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  4. Hello again from Bel Ayre! We are very much looking forward to be playing again in the Ca'Corner della Regina in two weeks from now, on june 15th. The concert is announced of course on the website of the Venetian Centre for Baroque music. Also, our debute CD was fully recorded in april and is being finished as we speak, but unfortunately we will not make it in time to release and present it in Venice during the upcoming concert. The release is now planned for september, and I will make sure to leave a note here when the time comes. Hoping to see you again soon!
    Bel Ayre
    Lieselot, Pieter & Pieter

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  5. Thanks very much for letting me know. I included this information at the end of my most recent post, June 7. I really hope I'll be able to make it to see you perform.

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  6. pam idoine, nottingham ukMay 14, 2014 at 10:08 AM

    Good Morning

    Have been to Venice over 25 times and am returning on Monday 19 May for 4 days. Are there any "secret gems" to recommend please! pam idoine

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    1. Ah, Pam, the "secret gems" of Venice are what everyone is in search of and, usually, if they're lucky, stumble upon themselves. But the Scuola Grande of San Marco has recently been renovated and reopened (beside the church of SS Giovanni e Paolo): http://veneziablog.blogspot.it/2013/11/la-scuola-grande-di-san-marco-re-opens.html

      If you're looking for someplace to eat near that scuola and SS Gio e Paolo, the small place called Da Alberto, which, if you exit the front door of SS Gio e Paolo and walk straight ahead, over the larger bridge in front of you and one (or 2) other smaller bridges will be on your left, about 100 meters (if I remember correctly) before you reach the church of I Miracoli.

      That's off the top of my head, perhaps others might have more to recommend. As you've been to Venice over 25 times it's hard to know what would qualify as "secret" anymore for you. A lot of people seem to miss the Querini Stampalia, for example, but it's hardly secret. For the truly secret one needs to know someone and be invited.

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    2. Thanks so much for your prompt response. I know the Miracoli, stayed in an apartment close by last summer - Save Venice renovated. Just read John Berendt City of Falling Angels, very informative. Love the Guggenheim - been about 5 times - but having just also read Confessions of an Art Addict will enjoy seeing it all in a different light. Have not made it to Burano yet - good trip for an afternoon?? I will print off your response and check out your recommendations. Staying this time at the Amadeus on The Spagna, Ghetto. Will also check out "The Camel" building close to the Church of the Plague (just read Miss Garners Angel!). Yes I appreciate your final sentence - do have some contacts but try not to use and abuse (too much anyway!). Many many thanks, ciao.

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  7. i HAVE BEen to the Grande Scuola - staying close to Miracoli we explored that area very well!
    My problem is I adore Venice, I dream about Venice and bore my friends talking about this amazing place. This will be my third trip since last June when I was there with a film company filming "One Chance". We were on the Director's boat when they hired the Grand Canal in front of Rialto - very special moment especially for a wannabevenetian! I have camped on the Lido, travelled by Orient Express and stayed at Cipriani, done apartments and hotels - accommodation is irrelevant - Venice always stays the same weather it is the crisp Janauary, wet Feb or humid June - for me it is my second home! Just wanted to share my thoughts!!

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    1. Hi, Pam, I'm sorry not to have responded in a more timely manner to your most recent comments, which I appreciated, but I've been under the weather and not been keeping up with everything. By the camel building I think you might mean what I think is called Palazzo dei Mori, just down the canal from Madonna dell'Orto? It's a great facade, would be wonderful to see what it's like inside.

      There's certainly nothing wrong with enthusiasm about a place, and it sounds like yours has led you to a lot of great experiences here. Did you end up visiting Burano (and Torcello)?

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  8. Just setting off! Will go to Querini Stampalia - this one is new to me - will look out for Mario Stefani's work. Thanks for your help! CiAO.

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  9. Fabulous time in Venice, weather amazing! Never got to Palazzo dei Mori, just simply ran out of time - next time - September! We went to Murano (ashamed to say for the first time!) and Burano which I just adored - what a jewel. We even went to Majjarbo!! The most beautiful pristine cemetary I have ever seen.

    Guggenheim again, but full of school trips which were quite loud. Went to Fenichi - but there was a performance on - again next time. Found Querini Stampalia but did not have time to visit properly. We walked and walked and chatted to lots of other tourists, Norwegian, Belgium, Finnish etc. Not sure about the influx of Chinese making a takeover bid! Sat on Manin bridge and watched the gondoliers go by with their opera singers on board - simply wonderful!

    Hope you are feeling better.

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    1. It sounds like you had a great time, Pam, and ranged a bit afield, too. Mazzorbo is a nice place, isn't it? Not one you hear much about, as I suppose there's not a lot to see--and no signs that it played a fairly major role in Roman times in the lagoon--but I've heard the restaurant there is good. How nice that you don't have to wait long to see any places you missed on this visit!

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  10. Bonjourno Sig Nonloso

    Have just booked - returning September 22nd for 3 nights - if you happen to know of anything worth recommending - it would be very much appreciated. Weather here great at the moment - so enjoying lots of tennis! Ciao for now!

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    1. If I think of something, or come upon something, I'll let you know, Pam, but sometimes I think I specialize in missing events rather than attending them!

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  11. Good Morning Venetian Friend!

    I am happy to say that I am returning to Venice next week! Yippeee. I will bring my daughter Eloise, aged 23 and look forward to doing all the things I did not do last time! Anything special happening??
    We arrive Monday evening and depart Thurs evening. Would you like to meet up for coffee or Prosecco!

    Best wishes, Pam

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    1. I'm sorry to say, Pam, that I missed your comment until too late--though even if I had caught it in time the same things that kept me from seeing it would probably have kept me from meeting up with you. I hope you and your daughter had a great time here, and I'm sure you didn't lack for things to do (I'm generally pretty bad about knowing what kind of events are going on here: I have an unfortunate tendency to find out after the fact.) Perhaps next time.

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