I went to hear Le poème harmonique playing Monteverdi and such at Columbia and I wrote about it for Bachtrack.
In his 1995 book Text and Act,
the musicologist Richard Taruskin wrote of the historically-informed
performance movement, “the very recent concept of historical
authenticity is implicitly projected back into historical periods that
never knew it.” To be fair to the French group Le Poème Harmonique,
whose program “Venezia” opened the Miller Theatre at Columbia
University’s season, their press release trumpeted an “eye-opening
approach to opera using historical gesture” rather than textual
authenticity. But the program also claimed to depict 17th-century Venice
from the “streets to the palaces,” and, as my companion remarked,
Venice doesn’t have any streets. It has canals and calle, alleys.
Read the rest here. You may gather that I didn’t like this concert much! It’s a real shame the Konzept proved so misguided, because the actual performances were decent and the rep was interesting, so I wish I had been able to appreciate it. I do not wish to pile on and therefore will refrain from having another Program Notes Smackdown here, but I do want to note that there is absolutely no scholarly consensus that “Pur ti miro” is by Ferrari as the notes state. Also, why did this program not feature Arianna’s lament? It’s arguably only semi-Venetian, but it’s so good!
Administrative note: I can’t promise much blogging for the next few months, but I am going to Einstein on the Beach tomorrow, and will get out to Elisir d’amore as soon as I can.
Here’s a piece that was not on Wednesday’s program (and Neapolitan rather than Venetian): the Lamento della pazza, attributed to Pietro Antonio Giramo, given an audacious performance by Anna Caterina Antonacci.
photo copyright O. Matsura