About the album
The Cello’s March of Conquest during the Baroque Period
At the beginning of the seventeenth century the violin set out on its march of conquest as a solo instrument. Before then the violin was not thought highly of, but the French theorist Martin Mersenne (1588-1648) called it the king of instruments and praised it for its versatility. It lasted almost a half century before the expressive potential of the (violon)cello, the lyrical tenor and sonorous bass of the same family of instruments, was discovered.
The earliest important solo literature for the cello originated in Bologna in the last decades of the seventeenth century. This northern Italian town was the birth place of and centre of activity for Petronio Franceschini (1651-80), Domenico Gabrielli (1659- 90) and Giuseppe Jacchini (1667-1727), all three of whom were renowned composers and cello virtuosos. Jacchini, Gabrielli’s star pupil, applied himself so well to the cello that he soon was the equal of his teacher. His popularity was increased by his affable personality, described in one eighteenth-century source as “upright” and “straightforward”. In 1689 he was admitted to the orchestra of the municipal church of San Petronio in Bologna. Jacchini was recommended for this position by Count Pirro Albergati, to whom he was to dedicate his opus 4, the Concerti per camera à 3 e 4, twelve years later. This work, which appeared under the imprint of the Bolognese publisher Marino Silvani, is made up of ten short concertos, of which six contain an important solo part for the cello. The ninth concerto of the collection is particularly distinguished for its virtuoso solo part and some attractive dialogues between the cello and the first violin. Jacchini’s harmonic vocabulary is somewhat limited and this is undoubtedly one of the reasons why the three movements are rather loosely constructed.
De zegetocht van de cello in de barok
Dit album bevat Italiaanse Concerto’s voor violoncello, uitgevoerd door soliste Lucia Swarts en het barokensemble Teatro Lirico onder leiding van Stephen Stubbs.
In het begin van de 17e eeuw begon de viool aan zijn zegetocht als solo-instrument. Hiervoor werd de viool niet gewaardeerd, maar de Franse theoreticus Martin Mersenne (1588-1648) noemde de viool de koning onder de instrumenten, en roemde het instrument om zijn veelzijdigheid.
De cello begon pas aan het einde van de 17e eeuw aan zijn zegetocht. De eerste belangrijke solowerken werden gecomponeerd in Bologna, waar Petronio Franceschini, Domenico Gabrieli en Giuseppe Jacchini actief waren. Zij waren naast vermaarde componisten ook cellovirtuozen.
In Bologna werd ook het driedelige soloconcert ontwikkeling. De ontwikkeling van dit genre zette zich voort in Venetië. Vivaldi is bekend om zijn vele soloconcerten. Hij heeft niet minder dan 26 voltooide soloconcerten voor cello solo gecomponeerd. Daarnaast componeerde hij ook een concert voor twee celli, strijkers en basso continuo, die op dit album is opgenomen.
De vitaliteit en virtuositeit van Vivaldi maakte bij de componisten van de Napelse school plaats voor een lieflijk belcanto, dat ook in de instrumentale werken te horen was. Het vierdelige Concert voor cello in a klein van Nicola Porpora vormt een overgang tussen de oude en de nieuwe stijl.
Lucia Swarts is gespecialiseerd in het uitvoeren van kamermuziek, zowel op de moderne cello als op de barokcello. Ze is eerste cellist in het orkest van de Nederlandse Bachvereniging, en vormt een duo met klavecinist Siebe Hoekstra. Daarnaast speelt ze ook regelmatig in ensembles voor hedendaagse muziek, zoals het Schönberg Ensemble en het Nieuw Ensemble.
Stephen Stubbs, born in 1951 in Seattle (US), has been engaged in music making since early childhood. Parallel interests in new and pre-romantic music led him to take a degree in composition at university and to study the lute and the harpsichord. Further years of study in Holland and England preceeded his professional debut as lutenist in 1976 at the Wigmore Hall, London. Since 1980 he has lived in North Germany, where he is a professor of lute and performance practices at the Hochschule der Künste in Bremen.
With his direction of Stefano Landi’s La morte d’Orfeo at the 1987 Bruges Festival, Stephen Stubbs began his career as opera director and he simultaneously founded the ensemble Tragicomedia, which has since recorded over twenty CD’s and completed tours of Europe, North America and Japan.
He has been invited for opera productions in several European countries and Scandinavia, most recently directing Monteverdi’s Orfeo at the Netherlands Opera in Amsterdam. To expand his repertoire into the late baroque period, Stubbs has recently founded the baroque orchestra Teatro Lirico.
Lutenist Stephen Stubbs, co-founder and co-director of Tragicomedia,
has been a leader in the field of seventeenth century music for the last decade.
As soloist, accompanist, ensemble leader and director, he has explored every corner of the field of baroque music. Increasingly, operas of this period have been at the centre of his interests, directing stage performances of the three Monteverdi operas, as well as planned stagings of Luigi Rossi’s Orfeo for the Boston Early Music Festival, in Tanglewood and in Drottningholm.
The logical step in realising his passion for baroque opera was the establishment of an orchestra, dedicated to opera from the early baroque (Purcell, Lully, Cavalli a.o.) to the late baroque (Händel, Vivaldi, Rameau a.o.). This has led to the foundation of Teatro Lirico, that made its recording debut with a selection of Venetian love duets, arias and chamber music from Monteverdi to Vivaldi.
Recent concerts have been at the Händel Festspiele Karlsruhe, with the forenamed program, and at the Dresdner Festspiele, with a performance of Antonio Sartorio’s Orfeo. Teatro Lirico is recording exclusively for Challenge Classics.
Lucia Swarts studied with Anner Bijlsma and Lidewij Scheifes at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague, where she acquired her solo degree in 1985. In the same year she gave a debut recital in the Amsterdam Concertgebouw in the series New Vintage for talented young musicians.
Lucia Swarts specialized in chamber music, both on modern and on baroque cello. She is first cellist in the Baroque Orchestra of the Netherlands Bach Society and forms a duo with harpsichord player Siebe Henstra. She is a member of the Chromatic Quartet and Quartetto Amsterdam, and she frequently plays in ensembles for contemporary music, such as the Schönberg Ensemble and the Nieuw Ensemble.
In June 1996, at the Holland Festival, she was one of the solo players in the opera A King, riding by Klaas de Vries. She worked with baroque specialists like Gustave Leonhardt, Ton Koopman and René Jacobs, but also with specialists in modern music like Reinbert de Leeuw and Oliver Knussen, performing in many CD’s, radio and television recordings.
Lucia Swarts teaches at the Royal Conservatory in The Hague and at the Conservatory of Groningen. She also gives courses in The Netherlands and abroad, including the annual Festival of Ancient Music in Daroca (Spain).