Italy: Landscapes, Baroque Movements and Tempo

Una cosa molto speziale di Washington è la diversità della comunità internazionale.  Al fine di prendere vantaggio di essere qui, ho deciso di esplorare alcuni dei tanti eventi multilingue e multiculturale qui.  Questa sera, l’ambasciata italiana ha avuto una lezione di arte su barocca e rococò in mostra alla Galleria Nazionale d’Arte, e aveve anche

una presentazione eccellente musicale di Vivaldi

e altri compositori musicali.

The speaker began the evening with the Cerasi chapel in Rome displaying its juxtaposition of two Baroque schools:  Carracci and Caravaggio in the 1590‘s. The presentation would eventually progress to the development of various fusions between these 2 polar influences, culminating in what is considered by many to be the penultimate work of Baroque art: Bernini’s  Daphne and Apollo (1622-25)– a statue depicting a woman turning into a tree, after being struck by the wrong arrow of Cupid.

The Carracci pole (3 brothers and cousins from Bologna – the city after which lunch meat arguably derives its name) was more classical in nature. Illustrated by “The Assumption of the Virgin Mary”,  the dramatic use of light by the painters embued the realism of the Baroque movement with a cartoon-like quality, while respecting the high renaissance influence of Raphael in color choice and medium (fresco), and mimicking him almost to the point of duplication in form.

Annibale Carracci would additionally paint some of the first landscapes where traditional background material would become the main object and human presence would be minimized.

The Caravaggio entrance into the Baroque era (Roman) was demonstrated by 2 works: “The Crucifixion of St. Peter” and “Conversion on the Way to Damascus” . This tradition preserved the strong diagonals, and the off-centering of subject matter that its preceding movement, Mannerism, had experimentally developed, but infused into these aspects a realism that admittedly made some of the religious who commissioned his work, uncomfortable. Caravaggio was not the most moderate of men.  Having killed a man, he would spend much of his life in flight with a bounty on his head.  In Caravaggio’s paintings, the light would fall on the subject, and the background would disappear.

Dopo la lezione, la musica ha iniziato.  I brani seguito una narrazione storica in gran parte, a cominciare da Biagio Marini (1594), muoversi ad Arcangelo Corelli (1653-1713), e finisce con Antonio Vivaldi (il prete rosso) (1678-1741).  Questi tre compositori che conoscevo, ma ci sono stati molti altri che sono stati intervallati entro meno noti a me: Legrenzi, Torelli, Caldara, Sammartini, Caporale, e Veracini.

There were 3 different bows used on the violins throughout the concert – the long bow replacing the short one with Corelli, and the classical bow replacing the long one with Sammartini.

The lute and the baroque guitar,

were interchanged with a large very exotic looking intstrument called the theorbo

that apparently improvises a bass-line using the bass score.  A violoncello appeared for the Caporale piece, and a harpischord played during all of the pieces.

Throughout the concert which transitioned between 4 and 5 musicians (depending on the number of violins being played), I was introduced to several different tempos of music:  allegro, adagio, grave, presto, vivace, corrente allegro, giga allegro, gavotta allegro, affettuoso, cantabile, and largo staccato.

La serata è culminata con una resa superba de “La Folia” di Vivaldi.

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