Sacri affetti

D. Castello, T. Merula, G. Cavaccio, G. Picchi, A. Grandi, F. Turini
Tuesday 1 July 2003, 7.30 pm
St Gallus Church, Havelská ul., Praha 1


More Maiorum (Belgium)
Peter van Heyghen
– artistic director
Constanze Backes
– soprano


As we can read for instance in the foreword to Caccini’s Le nuove musiche from 1601/2, the musical role of the singer in the beginning of the 17th century rested above all in the agitation of the soul’s feelings. One of the basic means for the achievement of this objective was an expressive rendering of the text with the accompaniment of basso continuo performed on a harmonic instrument and the employment of various embellishments and effects. In the musical tractates of the time, these embellishments would be listed under different names, such as grazie, accenti, maniere or simply affetti. Sacri affetti, the title of this programme, was originally the name of a collection of Roman motets published in 1625. It comprised compositions by some of the foremost authors of the time, including Cl. Monteverdi, G. Frescobaldi, A. Grandi and Mazzocchis family. However, the new style of singing was not only applied in secular music; the church considered it to be equally important to arouse the feelings of the congregation in order to persuade them of the truths communicated by the texts. The programme composed of works by Venetian musicians was performed by the More Maiorum ensemble founded by the University of Ghent; the feelings of the listeners were effectively aroused by the eminent soprano Constanze Backes.