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The Magdalene Project: The Ecstasy in Music – Performance by Consortium Carissimi in Dialogue with Kelley Harness

09-02-12-ConsortiumCarissimiBaroque ensemble Consortium Carissimi will explore the name of Mary Magdalene, the role of women in early baroque Florentine culture, and the ecstasy in music, with historical framework provided by Kelley Harness, Associate Professor of Musicology, University of Minnesota. Set for six solo voices, violin, sackbut and period instruments of figured bass accompaniment, this excursus to Florence will include artwork projections as well as spoken words of ecstasy by Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi (1566-1607). Cosponsored by the School of Music.


Also available as an audio download (.mp3 – 74.5 MB) and a video podcast (.m4v – 418.4 MB).

Question and Answer


Also available as an audio download (.mp3 – 9.2 MB) and a video podcast (.m4v – 54.1 MB).

Also check out Consortium Carissimi’s earlier performance at the IAS, The Madrigals of Alessandro Scarlatti, with Garrick Comeaux and Kelley Harness, February 12, 2009.

Mecenatismo (derived from the name of Gaio Cilnio Mecenate, 68 BCE – 8 CE) is best translated into English as patronage, and indicates the general support encouragement, privilege, or financial aid that an organization or individual bestows to another. In the history of art, arts patronage refers to the support that kings or popes have provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors. In her book Echoes of Women’s Voices: Music, Art, and Female Patronage in Early Modern Florence, Kelley Harness suggests that patronage can be viewed then as a means of communication in which a variety of individuals, some in competition with one another, took part in the conversation. “Poets, composers, singers, instrumentalists, painters and architects as well as seamstresses, carpenters and masons, all participated in the overall product. …during the early modern period in Florence, the city resounded with the echoes of women’s voices and at least some of their messages were communicated by means of artistic patronage.”

The Archduchess Maria Magdalena was one such patron. As the Grand Duchess of Tuscany (beginning with her husband’s accession in 1609) and, after his death in 1621, as co-regent with her mother-in-law (Christine of Lorraine), the archduchess assumed an active role as a patron, commissioning and participating in artistic activities held in a wide variety of venues, including Medici palaces, private villas, and several of Florence’s female monasteries.

In this production Dr. Harness provides the historical framework within which Consortium Carissimi explores the name of Mary Magdalene, the role of women in early baroque Florentine culture and of course, the ecstasy in music. Set for six solo voices, violin, sackbut and period instruments of figured bass accompaniment, this excursus to Florence will include artwork projections as well as spoken words of ecstasy by Maria Maddalena de’ Pazzi (1566-1607). Consortium Carissimi will perform sacred music of the Magdalene as well as secular music expressing the ecstasy in music by male composers such Marco da Gagliano, his younger brother Giovanni Battista da Gagliano, Girolamo Frescolbaldi, Domenico Mazzochi and Andrea Falconieri. The authority of the feminine is well underscored in the delightful works of female composers such as Chiara Margarita Cozzolani, Barbara Strozzi, Francesca Caccini, and Isabella Leonarda.

Kelley Harness is a professor of Musicology at the University of Minnesota. Her recent scholarly work concentrates on the interrelationships between music, theatrical imagery, and politics in 16th- and 17th-century Italy. Her work relies on musical analysis to reveal a composition’s allegorical messages and combines archival research and interpretive models from literary criticism, art history, and anthropology; her teaching reflects this interdisciplinary approach.

The Musicians of Consortium Carissimi:

Singers
Kristi Bergland
Garrick Comeaux, Director
Susan Druck
Linh Kauffman
Craig Lemming
Douglas Shambo II
Steve Staruch
KrisAnne Weiss

Players
Mary Burke, viola da gamba
Paul Berget, theorbo
Don Livingston, harp/harpsichord

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