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Magnificat to present a program of Schütz influenced by Gabrieli and Monteverdi

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Next month Magnificat will present the second of its Exquisite Exchanges programs, each of which explores a difference aspect of how the music of the seventeenth century was influenced by previous composers. The full title of this concert is Curiose et Moderne Invenzioni: Music of Monteverdi & Schütz. The “back-story” behind this program begins in August of 1628, when Heinrich Schütz traveled to Venice to get away from Dresden, which was being ravaged by the Thirty Years’ War. Almost twenty years earlier, Schütz had studied with Giovanni Gabrieli in Venice. Gabrieli had died in 1612, and Claudio Monteverdi had succeeded him at Saint Mark’s Basilica. The title of the program, however, comes not from the madrigals and motets by Monteverdi to which Schütz would have been exposed but from the title of a set of eight virtuoso sonatas by Biagio Marini, which he chose to call “curious and modern inventions.”

Schütz’ trip to Venice thus put him in touch with a “new music,” whose techniques and aesthetic had not yet penetrated the “northern territories.” Influenced by Monteverdi’s motets, Schütz would compose his own collection of motets, which he published in Venice in 1629 as the first book of what he called Symphoniae sacrae (sacred symphonies). The program that Magnificat Artistic Director Warren Stewart has prepared for next month’s concert will include two of the motets in this set, “Anima mea liquefacta est” (“My soul failed me,” from the fifth chapter of the Song of Solomon) and “Exultavit cor meum” (‘My heart exults in the Lord,” from the second chapter of the first book of Samuel), as well as the German-language motet “Es steh Gott auf” (“Let God arise,” from Psalm 68), from the second book of Symphoniae sacrae, published in Dresden in 1647.

Monteverdi’s influence will be included on the program in the form of two of his madrigals, “Armato il cor” (armed with my heart) and “Zefiro torna” (return, Zephyr), as well as his motet “Exulta filia Sion” (“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion,” from the ninth chapter of Zechariah) and his setting of the Marian hymn “Salve Regina” (hail, holy queen). The program will also include selections from Marini’s publication, as well as instrumental pieces by Dario Castello, Carlo Farina, Alessandro Piccinini, and Johann Jacob Froberger, providing an interleaving of Italian and German influences. (Farina served as violinist at the Dresden court.)

The San Francisco presentation of this program will take place in St. Mark’s Lutheran Church (1111 O’Farrell Street, near the southwest corner of Franklin Street). The performance will begin at 8 p.m. on Friday, January 10. Ticket prices are $35 for general admission, $30 for seniors, and $12 for students. Tickets may be purchased online through both Eventbrite and TicketLeap. They may be purchased over the phone by calling 800-595-4849.

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