Orchestra, choir and soloists of the 23rd European Baroque Academy

Thursday 16 July | 20:00 h
Geoffroy Jourdain
Geoffroy Jourdain

23rd European Baroque Academy

Orchestra, choir and soloists of the 23rd European Baroque Academy (10 instrumentalists, 10 singers) Geoffroy Jourdain Musical Director


Giacomo Carissimi (1605-1674) Jephte? (Historia di Jephte?)
Marc-Antoine Charpentier (1634-1704) Le Reniement de Saint-Pierre H424
Luigi Rossi (1597-1653) Oratorio pour la semaine sainte (Oratorio per la settimana santa)

This concert compares the music of the Italian master of the oratorio, Giacomo Carissimi with that of the Frenchman Marc-Antoine Charpentier: his sacred dramas are a reflection of the great works that heard and studied in Rome with the Master. Another composer whose influence on France is not negligible (he was invited here on two occasions by Mazarin), Luigi Rossi is one of the founders of the genre which took shape in the Roman oratories. L’Historia di Jephta by Carissimi is one of the first, if not the first chef d’oeuvre to have benefitted from a real success. Written in 1649, this oratorio recounts the story in Latin, taken from the Old testament, of Jephte?, who in exchange for a victory in his battle with the Ammonites promises to the Lord to sacrifice the first person he sees upon his victorious return, a commitment which turns out to be fatal for his young and only daughter. The biblical account, alternately given to one or several singers, is interspersed with magnificent choirs and ariosos which comment on the plot. Jephte?’s daughter’s lament with its voices in echo “ Plorate colles, dolete motes” (Weep hills, grieve mountains”) and the sublime final six voice chorus ”Plorate filii d’Israel” (Weep sons of Israel) in themselves both resume the beauty of this work.

There is no doubt that this chef d’oeuvre inspired Marc-Antoine Charpentier who wrote out a complete manuscript copy of it during his stay in Italy. This influence can be particularly felt in his Reniement de Saint Pierre. After the cock crows, when Peter becomes aware of his treason, the choir brings this sacred drama to an end in an atmosphere of profound sadness “Fleveit amare” (He wept bitterly”) making use of Italian and highly expressive dissonances.

L’Oratorio per la settimana santa by Luigi Rossi was composed in Rome in about 1640.This work is the longest and most “theatrical” of the three. It recounts the passion of Christ in what could be considered as one of the first descriptions of it in music. Numerous solo interventions by Pilate, demons and the Virgin Mary (the wonderful lament “Tormenti non piu?”), virtuoso choruses of the populace, and demonic forces make this oratorio a quasi- opera.

Background note

“When I was entrusted with the direction of the 23rd edition of the European Baroque Academy, I was imme- diately drawn to a period which I am extremely fond of and which seemed to me to be ideal for the learning purposes of an academy: the birth of the Italian oratorio with Carissimi and Rossi and its arrival in France through the intermediary of Charpentier. Alternating, recitatives, airs and polyphonic chorales, these sacred dramas represent for me an ideal research situation in the company of young singers and instrumentalists.”

Geoffroy Jourdain

Educational course

“During this Academy we will go back to the sources of the oratorio and we will study the prosodic, phonetic and expressive connections between Latin pronounced in the Roman manner (Carissimi), in the French manner (Charpentier) and in the Italian manner (Rossi). We will immerse ourselves in the transition which takes place
in the middle of the XVIIth century between the polyphonic tradition of the Renaissance (and its collective “I”) and the advent of individuality which intervenes with the arrival of baroque monody; each singer will therefore be encouraged to practice polyphony and to move away from it in their capacity as soloists. We will work on the research for a diversification of sound suitable to serve the dramatic action using the multiple combinations available with an opulent continuo.

Finally, we will raise the question of the singer’s body posture whilst narrating.”

The European Baroque Academy

Since its creation in 1993, the Ambronay European Baroque Academy has represented an important step in the development of young European artists at the start of their career. From now on it will incorporate the eeemerging (European Eeemerging Ensembles) project, including one or more of the selected ensembles as well as talented young individuals selected from across Europe. In partnership with the European Association of Conservatories.

Previous conductors of the academy: Jordi Savall, William Christie, Christophe Coin, Christophe Rousset, Ton Koopman, Gabriel Garrido, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Paul McCreesh, Herve? Niquet, Jean Tube?ry, Serge Saitta, Martin Gester, Sigiswald Kuijken, Leonardo Garci?a Alarco?n, Enrico Onofri et Paul Agnew.

Previous Academy participants include:

Instrumentalists: Leonardo Garci?a Alarco?n, Se?bastien d’Herin, Vincent Dumestre, He?loi?se Gaillard, Ophe?lie Gaillard, Mira Glodeanu, Fre?de?rick Haas, Ariana Savall...
Singers: Marc Callahan, Sophie Daneman, Karine Deshayes, Ste?phanie d’Oustrac, Mariana Flores, Sophie Kartha?user, Ingrid Perruche, Patricia Petibon, Me?lodie Ruvio, Raphae?l Pichon...

Les Indes dansantes, European Baroque Academy 2010.

An evening with Mozart, European Baroque Academy 2009.

Geoffroy Jourdain, conductor

While he was studying musicology at the Sorbonne University and doing researches in the Italian musical collections of several European librarys, Geoffroy Jourdain got involved very soon in conducting vocal ensembles and founded Les Cris de Paris. The ensemble became quickly renowned for the audacity of its artistic project and for its commitment to defend contemporary creation.

Geoffroy Jourdain is interested in finding ways to create innovative musical performances, by working with stage directors, actors, choreographers and plastic artists. With the stage director Benjamin Lazar, he creates many shapes of lyrical shows and musical theatre.

He is invited by the Atelier lyrique de l’Ope?ra de Paris in order to conduct lyrical works (Orphe?e et Eurydice and Iphige?nie en Tauride by Gluck, L’Orfeo by Monteverdi), and also by ensembles like the Capella Amsterdam, the Sao Paulo Symphony Orchestra Choir, the National Symphony Orchestra of Colombia or the orchestra Les Sie?cles, entrusted by Franc?ois-Xavier Roth (Israel in Egypt by Handel)...

Geoffroy Jourdain commissioned and created works by Beat Furrer, Mauro Lanza, Marco Stroppa, Francesco Filidei, Oscar Strasnoy (including the opera Cachafaz), Ivan Fedele, and is also passionate about 17h and 18th centuries repertoire and about ethnomusicology. His curiosity about varied repertoires and the originality of its approach led him to perform at the Ope?ra Comique, the IRCAM, the Cite? de la Musique, the Pre?sence festival of Radio France or at the Venice Biennale, to be invited in residence at the Fondation Royaumont, at the Ope?ra de Reims, to be a major artist of the Beaune festival and of the Chaise-Dieu festival.

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