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Simfoniĉ Romanĉ
17th Century Instrumental Music From Rome

Rome was a vibrant musical center during the seventeenth-century. Instead of a royal court providing steady employment to musicians, many and various Roman establishments supported music. The Vatican was, of course, the most prominent, but the chapels of the prominent Cardinals (who sought to be the next Pope), some religious orders, and several wealthy patrons employed singers and instrumentalists for performances both sacred and secular. Rome did not have any salaried ensembles, as did Venice and Bologna. Yet, great instrumentalists, such as Girolamo Frescobaldi and Hieronymus Kapsberger, still were able to make Rome their home. And other instrumentalists, the most famous being lutenist Lelio Colista, became fabulously wealthy under Rome's system of patronage.

Girolamo Frescobaldi (1583-1643) was the first composer to make keyboard music the major focus of his output. Il primo libro delle Canzoni a una, due, tre e quattro voci per sonare con ogni sorte di stromenti of 1628 was Frescobaldi's first collection to depart from music for keyboard or voice. He gave few, specific instrumentations for this collection, instead using, along the lines of the vocal designations of the time, canto, alto, tenor and basso to indicate instrumental ranges.

Johann Hieronymus Kapsberger (1580-1651) is often recognized as the most important composer of the early 17th century for the lute and theorbo, although he produced collections for all manner of instrumental and vocal ensemble. Libro primo di sinfonie a quattro con il basso continuo is one of his only two surviving instrumental collections, both of which were published within months of each other. Kapsberger's use of the title sinfonia, rather than canzona or sonata, is probably meant to indicate the modernity of his music compared to similar works published in Venice and elsewhere around the same time.

Giovanni Antonio Leoni (ca. 1590-after 1652) was a composer, violinist and teacher, but little else is know about him except from what is written in the preface to his collection, Sonate di violino a voce sola ... libro I, opera III. It is the first published collection that consists entirely of sonatas for a solo violin and continuo. All of the sonatas are based on the church modes, going through each consecutively, but omitting the fifth and seventh modes.

Lelio Colista (1629-1680) called his music Simfonie, usually for 2 violins and continuo with an ornamented version of the bass to be performed on the theorbo, which Colista did himself at his performances. Colista's innovations in instrumental music are in strong evidence in the instrumental music, entitled by some as "Sonata in C Major" when performed separately, that opens his 1681 oratorio, Las Susanna.

Alessandro Stradella (1639-1682) can be said to be the creator of the concerto grosso form, which sets a group of soloists or "concertino " against a string orchestra or "ripieno." The first concertino group famously consisted of Lonati, Carlo Mannelli, violins, Bernardo Pasquini, keyboard, and Colista, theorbo. Stradella left Rome in 1677 short of funds due to the Pope Innocent XI's prohibitions against public opera performances. After re-establishing himself in Genoa, Stradella's reputation became scandalous due to rumors of dalliances with the ladies of the upper class and his female harpsichord students. This may have provided the motivation behind his murder in the streets of Genoa in 1682.

Carlo Ambrogio Lonati (ca. 1640-1710), lead the orchestra at the court of Queen Christina of Sweden who had come to Rome after converting to Catholicism. He was nicknamed Il Gobbo della Regina, the queen's hunchback, due to an otherwise unspecified deformity. His Simfonia require unusually high technical standards, and sections are often linked thematically.

Carlo Mannelli (1640-1697) served first as a violinist, and then as a soprano, at S Luigi dei Francesi. Mannelli also fills in the link of great Roman violinists, along with C. A. Lonati, between Caproli and Corelli. His opus 3 of trio sonatas are mostly in five movements, technically demanding, and feature lyrical adagios and fast fugues, which he called canzonas.

Passamezzo Moderno, founded in 2005, has performed for the San Francisco Early Music Society, Berkeley Chamber Performances, the Universities of California in Berkeley and Davis, California State University, Stanislaus, and numerous chamber music series throughout northern California. Its first CD was released in 2008 to popular acclaim. Don Kaplan wrote for the 2012 fall issue of Early Music America magazine, "Passamezzo Moderno demonstrated seamless playing and perfect harmony throughout their 17th-century Italian-influence German chamber music...Edwin Huizinga and Adriane Post confirmed they are two of North America's brightest and best young Baroque violinists."

A native of Berkeley, California, Jonathan Davis holds a Master of Music degree in harpsichord performance from the Mannes College of Music where his principal teachers were Arthur Haas and Myron Lutzky. Mr. Davis is the recipient of outstanding performance awards from the Mu Phi Epsilon Honors Foundation, the San Francisco Conservatory of Music, and the Mannes College of Music. Mr. Davis has performed throughout Italy as a soloist and chamber musician, most recently at the Accademia Bartolomeo Cristofori, Florence, Italy.

David Granger received his Bachelor of Music in 1973 and his Master of Music in 1975 from the Manhattan School of Music. Mr. Granger was principal bassoonist of the Sacramento Symphony from 1981 until 1996 and currently holds positions as principal bassoonist of the Sacramento Philharmonic, Modesto and Fremont Symphonies, and is a member of the Oakland East Bay and the Marin Symphonies. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, in 2000.

Performing both baroque and modern repertoire, Edwin Huizinga has also been invited to guest direct the Atlanta Baroque orchestra and the Note Bene ensemble and will be performing across North America with his chamber ensemble, the Silver Line. Mr. Huizinga also has recently recorded albums with the Mars Volta, the Wooden Sky, Nathan Lawr, and others.

Adriane Post can be heard with period instrument ensembles such as Apollo's Fire, Trinity Wall Street Baroque Orchestra, Handel and Haydn Society, Washington National Cathedral Baroque Orchestra, and as frequent leader and soloist with New Trinity Baroque. She has appeared as concertmaster and soloist with Juilliard415 under the direction of Jordi Savall and Nicholas McGegan. Ms. Post received her undergraduate degree from Oberlin Conservatory and her masters as part of the inaugural class of Juilliard's Historical Performance program.

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