We invite you to an evening with Il Giardino Armonico, a sensational Milan-based orchestra playing historical instruments and led by Giovanni Antonini, artistic director of the festival. Famous for their temperament, the Italians have arranged for us a programme of violent emotions and dramatic events.
Arranged by many composers, the musical theme known as la follia (madness) originally appeared in the Portuguese dance with characteristic movements that give the impression of madness. At the end of the 17th century, a new version of the catchy motif became popular: free, stressed on the second measure in every second bar. Francesco Geminiani developed la follia penned by his colleague, Arcangelo Corelli, by adding a beautiful part of the second violin and contrasting the orchestra with the soloist's performances.
The references to dramatic moments in the festival's programme are also found in Battalia by Heinrich Ignaz Franz von Biber. The composer liked the special effects, especially in imitating non-musical sounds. We will hear the sounds of muskets and cannons (imitated by string instruments!) And the soloist's violin will imitate the military pipe. In the final, however, the wail of the wounded musketeers is heard, despite the Baroque convention of a happy ending. Biber not only wanted to show off his craft – he wanted to tell us that the result of war is always death, not victory.
The rich collection of music in the Dresden Court Church remained forgotten for a hundred years, until the inspector of the royal orchestra discovered it in the mid-19th century. He found, among others, 83 pieces of ‘forgotten Italian composer, Antonio Vivaldi’, and among them ‘Concerto for the Dresden Orchestra’. Vivaldi himself had to wait several dozen years to be discovered as an outstanding artist. How was it possible that so many compositions by the Venetian were found in Germany? It is the result of his friendship with the violinist and composer Johann Georg Pisendel, the Kapellmeister at the Saxon court?
L'isola disabitata tells a story of two sisters who spent thirteen years on a deserted island, where they were washed away by the sea after their ship sank. All this time, the husband of one of them was detained by pirates. When he finally released himself, he and his friend came to the rescue of his wife. As you can easily guess, this friend fell in reciprocated love with the other sister. At the festival, we will hear a wonderful overture to this opera. Joseph Haydn predicted that this symphony would be the future of music and he composed the overture so that it could function as an independent work of music. The well-respected ‘Farewell’ Symphony, which Haydn wrote in the residence of his protector, Prince Esterházy, also features in the programme. The aristocrat spent the warm months in a luxurious palace and could not do without an orchestra. When in October 1772 he decided to extend his stay, the musicians told Kapellmeister Haydn that they wanted to return to their families. The composer communicated this to the prince in the form of an allusion. A new F sharp minor Symphony No. 45 was played: in the final Adagio, the musicians finished the movement one by one, blew the candle at the pulpit and went out. At the end, in the dark room, Haydn conducted only the first violinist. The prince let the orchestra leave the next morning.