A Joyful Noyse - Ferrara

 

TEXT: A survey of music heard at the court of Ferrara, Italy from Dufay and Josquin to the emergence of the extraordinary trio of women musicians known as the Concerto delle Donne.  With background and commentary by musicologist Dr. Teresa Neff. Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 7:30 pm.

Hancock United Church of Christ, 1912 Mass. Ave., Lexington, MA

Suggested $10 donation to support Hancock Cantata Fund

When we think of the important music centers of the world, perhaps Venice, Vienna, Paris, and Hamburg come to mind. But what about Ferrara, Italy? Located 70 miles southwest of Venice in northern Italy, during the 15th and 16th century, Ferrara became a prominent center for the arts, not only in Italy, but in all of Europe.

The list of people writing music for, visiting, or working in Ferrara reads like a “who’s who” of Renaissance composers, Dufay, Josquin, Obrecht, Isaac, Brumel, Willaert, Rore, Wert, Marenzio, and Gesualdo all had some part in making Ferrara a music center of importance. This concert will also feature composers of lesser fame who worked at Ferrara, such as Viola, Martini, and Tromboncino.

The year 1580 marked an important event in the music life of Ferrara, the formation of the Concerto della Donne. This group evolved into a trio of extraordinary female musicians who became the talk of Europe. Their concerts were reserved for Duke Alfonso II, his wife Margherita Gonzaga and their invited guests. The only evidence as to what was performed at these secret concerts is Luzzasco Luzzaschi’s book of madrigals for one to three solo voices. It was published in 1601, four years after the death of Alfonso and the incorporation of Ferrara into the Papal States. 1597 also marked the end of Ferrara as a prominent music center.