A Night in Siena
by Horatio Vecchi (1550-1605)
with Simone Vallerotonda, Theorbo/Lute/Renaissance Guitar
For this all–Italian extravaganza we welcome a rising star of Italy’s early music scene: Simone Vallerotonda. Vecchi’s magnum opus is neither an opera nor a madrigal collection, yet this curious and hybrid work is one of the undiscovered gems of the early 17th century. Written for Siena’s Intronati, a very distinguished academy, the work represents the composer’s ﬁnal artistic statement, a cornucopia of musical cameos, comic tricks and deeply touching moments of humanity.
As a direct result of the subjugation of Siena by the Medici, all public gatherings were forbidden in the city between 1563 and 1603. The Intronati of Siena were thus forced underground. Their secret soirées took the form of intellectual contests and debates on the art of love, riddles and, as testiﬁed in Vecchi’s work, a 16th century form of theatre sports.
Dedicated to Christian IV, King of Denmark, Vecchi’s work carries the grandiose title of ‘The evening entertainment in Siena or the various humours of modern music’. The various humours or human temperaments refer to the catalogue of 14 serious moods represented as madrigals in the second half of the Veglie. The ﬁrst half is a set of often facetious ‘imitation-games’ framed by the conceit of a chosen king who calls on his guests to show their acting skills.
Verbrugghen Hall, Conservatorium of Music