MUSICK FEAST – A TRIBUTE TO ST CECELIA
The Valletta International Baroque Ensemble will be performing a selection of baroque music in honour of the Patron Saint of Music, St Cecilia, on her feast day of the 22nd November. The concert will commence at 8pm at St Augustine’s Church in Valletta.
The earliest recorded celebrations for St Cecilia’s Day date back to the 17th century. The festivities were entitled Musick Feasts, and comprised of some days dedicated to musical performances culminating in a choral service on the 22nd November, with an anthem specially commissioned by the foremost composers of the time.
The Valletta International Baroque Ensemble, led by Catherine Martin, presents a programme of works including Concerto Grosso Op 6 No 5, Op 3 No 5 and Soprano Arias from Ode for St Cecilia’s Day by George Freidrich Handel, Concerto Grosso Nuovo in Stile Antico by Alexander Vella Gregory, and Dances and Songs from The Fairy Queen by Henry Purcell.
Handel’s Concerto Grosso op 6 no 5 and op 3 no 6 are fine examples of this form, popular in the early 18th century, which is marked by the contrast between a small group of soloists, the concertino, and the entire orchestra, the tutti. Composed in 1739, these concertos quickly became some of the most popular orchestral works of their time.
Purcell’s Fairy Queen, loosely based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, is scored for a varied mix of solos, choruses, dances, and other instrumental pieces. For this concert, VIBE has chosen a selection of dances interspersed with songs for soprano.
The composition by contemporary Alex Vella Gregory is inspired by the baroque form of the Concerto Grosso. The work is scored for two treble instruments and the harpsichord as concertino, backed by a tutti string section.
VIBE, which is managed by Teatru Manoel and is the resident ensemble of the Valletta International Baroque Festival, is drawn from prominent Maltese instrumentalists who collaborate with and are coached by international Baroque specialists. It seeks to perform music from the Renaissance and Baroque periods in a historically informed way on original instruments.
Tickets can be purchased here.