Document Type

Performance

Publication Date

8-2014

First Advisor

James D. Christie

Department

Music

Abstract

Fiori Musicali of Italian baroque composer Girolamo Frescoabldi represents one of the most important and exquisite works of its time. Today, the means for performing such music as it might have been in 17th century Italy is neither well known nor practiced. This project sought to discern the methods for preparing this music in a historically accurate fashion for a final performance of Messa della Madonna in its originally intended liturgical context. Research began with ten days of study in Italy under Francesco Cera, renowned organist and expert in the repertoire. I gathered information from lessons and practice on period instruments in the Rome and Latium regions, visits to churches where Frescobaldi taught and played, and archival work in the Biblioteca Catanese. Study continued in the U.S. with examination of manuscripts and treatises and visits to historical model instruments. Much of the researched centered on discerning how to organize the movements within a mass in today’s post-Vatican II church. I conducted a search for the Gregorian chants of the mass that Frescobaldi would have known in his time. With regard to the organ versets, it becomes clear that many of these pieces would be played on a 16-foot registration or all’ottava alta (the higher octave of the instrument), producing ample contrast between the different pieces. These discoveries yielded an engaging, informed, and contextually appropriate performance. I will doubtlessly utilize the work of this project in my further studies.

Comments

This project is focused on historically informed performance. The primary file is a compilation of recordings of works played first on a 16th century Italian organ, then repeated on the 1985 Taylor and Boody organ in St. Joseph's Memorial Chapel at the College of the Holy Cross. The works are recorded in the following order:

  • Toccata Avanti la Messa - Rieti
  • Toccata Avanti la Messa - Holy Cross
  • Toccata e Ricercar - Holy Cross
  • Gustate
  • Levazione - S. Barbara
  • Levazione - Holy Cross
  • Bergamasca - Rieti
  • Bergamasca - Holy Cross
  • Inno di chiusura - Holy Cross

A individual recording of each work is available as a supplemental file.

The music of Messa della Madonna was performed at a Mass celebrated August 2, 2014 in St. Joseph Memorial Chapel at the College of the Holy Cross. The Mass was co-sponsored by the Worcester chapter of the American Guild of Organists.

Creative Commons License


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Toccata avanti la messa - Rieti.wav (13491 kB)
recording

Toccata avanti la messa - Holy Cross.wav (14285 kB)
recording

Toccata e ricercar - Holy Cross.wav (54659 kB)
recording

Gustate.wav (8062 kB)
recording

Levazione - S. Barbara.wav (29500 kB)
recording

Levazione - Holy Cross.wav (37284 kB)
recording

Bergamasca - Rieti.wav (57308 kB)
recording

Bergamasca - Holy Cross.wav (54579 kB)
recording

Inno di chiusura improvvisato - Holy Cross.wav (15115 kB)
recording

Poster.pptx (2653 kB)
poster

Order of Worship.docx (53 kB)
Notes for a presentation of Messa della Madonna

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