Il Canto Delle Sirene - Villanelle E Canzoni ‘600 & ...

May 27 clock 05:21 AM


Heliconian Hall
Toronto, ON

plus Radar

Ticket Booth

Presented by:

Vesuvius Ensemble

Event Details

Welcome, friends of Vesuvius!
There are two Greek myths about how the singing siren Parthenope founded the
musical city we know as Naples.
#1: Devasted that her singing did not make Ulysses fall in love with her, Parthenope
cried until her tears filled the bay and drowned her. Her body washed up on the island
of Megaride, and the land absorbed the shape of her body. The island was later named
after her and eventually became the Greek settlement of Neapolis (“new city”).
#2: A dart thrown by Eros made Parthenope fall in love with a centaur called Vesuvio.
Unfortunately Zeus also loved Parthenope, and in his jealousy separated the two lovers:
he turned the siren into the city of Naples and turned Vesuvio into a volcano at the edge
of the gulf (so that the siren could always see him, but only from afar). The centaur’s
thwarted desire is expressed in the fiery eruptions of the famous volcano which gives
our ensemble its name.
Pick whichever myth you prefer, but in both stories the city of Naples is an embodiment
of Parthenope and her seductive singing. We can say that her voice inspires all the many
centuries of expressive singing coming from the area, including tonight’s repertoire.
We have long wanted to plan a concert devoted to exploring the published villanelle alla
napoletana alongside popular songs from around the same time and place.
The villanella was strophic song, usually for 3 voices The texts, often in Neapolian
dialect, are usually rustic and comic or even satirical. The first composers of the canzone
villanesca were Neapolitans, but composers from outside Naples such as Willaert and
Lassus eventually tried their hand at the genre. It became one of the most popular forms
of song in Italy and influened other forms such as the canzonetta and the madrigal.
Vesuvius Ensemble began over 15 years ago performing the popular songs that likely
inspired composers of villanelle, and we’re thrilled to combine these two genres in
tonight’s program and to see what happens when we put them side by side.
We find both genres have a soundscape that feels fresh, even though the songs are over
four centuries old. Therefore, the beginning of Spring seems like the perfect time to
be presenting them to you. We’re thrilled to be joined tonight by two special guests,
Felix Deak and Jonathan Stuchbery, who will enrich our program with some brilliant
instrumental music from the Renaissance.
Thank you for being with us tonight, and buona primavera!

- Francesco Pellegrino & Lucas Harris



Francesco Pellegrino, voice & chitarra battente
Lucas Harris, lute & colascione

Felix deak, viola da gamba
Jonathan Stuchbery, lute & Renaissance guitar