Alphabet Baroque Club with guest Ruth Cunningham (soprano)

Maria Caswell (violin), Judiyaba (viol), Gwyneth Davis (bass viol), Phebe Craig (harpsichord)

Follow these composers’ journeys on the ABC Musical Journeys blog!

This year the Alphabet Baroque Club is On the Road to Hell! Our composers were on the road as well! Many baroque composers traveled extensively for learning and employment. Johann Kusser started life in Bratislava, traveled to Stuttgart, on to Paris for a good while, back to Germany, and then to Dublin, Ireland for his final years. Our Spanish composers traveled to Italy and Peru, Irish composers to England, and Henry Madin’s parents were part of the “Wild Geese” who left Ireland, in this case to France. Italians stayed in Italy, traveling between the individual Italian kingdoms and principalities.

Henry Madin, the son of Irish Exiles, ‘The Wild Geese”

Our travels start with heavenly Marian music from the medieval Llibre Vermell de Montserrat, on to Italy for Ignazio Donati’s Porta Caeli, and crossing an ocean to Mexico for Juana Inés de la Cruz’s Madre, de los primores. As we descend to earth we have French/Irish Henry Madin’s Domine salvum fac regem (God save the King), a traditional ending to a French royal Mass.

While on earth we dance some dances; a Pavan by Irish harper to the Elizabethan court Cormac Mac Dermott, a saraband titled L’Espagnol and a forlane titled L’Anglois by Johann Kusser. Then we play two love songs, Cantarico by Tomás Torrejón y Velasco and Si n’os huviera mirado by Cristobal de Morales. And finally we praise the new Spanish King Felipe in an arrangement of the dedicatory prologue from La purpura de la rosa by Tomás Torrejón y Velasco.

And now we get to some more infernal music, starting with a demonic flight and infernal dance by Kusser, then  Io pur respiro and a Gagliarda, by the tormented Carlo Gesualdo with his signature twisted harmonies, excerpts from L’Orfeo by Monteverdi, and a battle between Barabas and Satan, Batalla de Barabaso yerno de Satanas, by Andrea Falconieri. And, to end, the charming Ciaccona di paradiso, e d’Inferno, which describes in alternating verses, or characterizations, the delights of heaven and the torments of hell.

We hope to see you cheering us along on our Infernal Journey!