Tenet: something out of this world
published on March 10, 2018
By Jaime Torres Torres
For National Foundation for Popular Culture
The esoteric and sublime; the love that liberates and the love that condemns; the divine contemplation; the elevation of the soul and the emancipation of the spirit are synthesized in a perfect way in the music of the quintet from Tenet, the attraction of the Casals Festival on the night of last Thursday, March 8, International Women's Day.
The privileged voices of the sopranos Molly Quinn and Jolle Greenleaf addressed a repertoire that spans from the Middle Ages to the present day. (Photo Jaime Torres Torres for National Foundation for Popular Culture)
Art of the Middle Ages, dating back to the sixteenth century, in a very high concert and, for most of the program, caressing and tender baroque beauty.
The harpsichord (Jeffrey Grossman), the viola da gamba (Lisa Terry) and the theorbo (a large lute played by Hank Heijink) accompanied the lyrical singers Molly Quinn and Jolle Greenleaf during a non-intermediate program, focused on ancient music , in its natural, pure, pristine and virginal state.
These artists, of international fame, some Grammy winners and applauded at the Carnegie Hall and the most prestigious concert halls in the world, evoked the muse and wit of Italian composers of the XVI and XVII centuries, such as Johannes Kapsberger, Tarquinio Merula, Claudio Monteverdi, Martino Pesenti, Richardo Rogniono, Luigi Rossi, Michelangelo Rossi and others whose works Tenet interprets in the recording and recitals of "El amante secreto".
The texts, interpreted in Italian, were within the reach of average comprehension, thanks to the free translations into Spanish included in the excellent hand program of the Casals Festival 2018.
The show began with "The Three Graces" (The Three Graces and Venus), resulting in a very dramatic clamor for the sub work "Regresar, besos amados" by Monteverdi. The text in Spanish is:
"Come back, beloved kisses
to give me back
my kisses life that my hungry heart thanks.
Sweet bitterness that makes me languish
kisses of nectar and poison.
Appease my intense desire
kisses in whose sweetness I
also find sighs ".
With the exception of the madrigals or sacred works in which the combination of harpsichord, viola da gamba and tiorda almost propitiate touching the Divinity, the program stands out in the melancholy of the lover who goes out of his way for unrequited love.
Jeffrey Grossman in the harpsichord celebrated the brilliant presentation of the Tenet set at the Festival. (Photo Jaime Torres Torres for National Foundation for Popular Culture)
The musical experience, too, is extraordinary by transcriptions of virginal annotations, conceived outside the avatars of subjectivity.
In "Ardo, but I do not dare", "My thoughts struggle" "Heraclitus in love" and others it is a delight to listen to the duets, melodies and lines in counterpoints of the sopranos Quinn and Greenleaf.
I must confess that in little more than 30 years of coverage of artistic and musical events in the Puerto Rican Nation, I was never part of a musical proposal so genuine and rewarding.
Tenet is something out of this world.
Sounds of the Middle Ages perpetuated from the pentagram beyond the calendars, with all the luggage of spirits that vibrate in time and transcend spaces and geographies.
The indecipherable and inexperienced; the unknown and strange; Perhaps from an ancestral latitude it has echoed in some corner of the DNA, revealing vestiges of the memory and primordial passion that advances with the centuries. And it ends up feeling, understanding and enjoying because in its essence we also beat it.
Tenet said goodbye with the lyricism of "Danza de la Vida", which dates back to 1657, but whose author is anonymous.
"Life is a dream
that seems pleasant.
But the pleasure is short:
we all have to die.
They are not worth medicine, the machine does not help,
there is no cure: we all have to die.
We die singing; we die playing the sistro
or the zampoña; we all have to die
We die dancing, drinking, eating.
With this carrion, we all have to die. "
The viola da gamba in the hands of Lisa Terry and the theorbo performed by Hank Heijink completed the magic evening of the whole of the city in the Sala Pablo Casals. (Photo Jaime Torres Torres for National Foundation for Popular Culture)
A pity, however, that Tenet went unnoticed at the Casals Festival. Where is the audience that has traditionally supported this prestigious event?
The Pablo Casals Symphony Hall seemed a desert, but Tenet, in addition to its virtuosity and majesty, sang in Fine Arts with the same commitment of Carnegie Hall and the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
There is no doubt that he will be remembered for much among the best of the Casals Festival 2018. Hopefully it will be repeated. Meanwhile, it is possible to relive the dreamy experience of Thursday by listening to their albums "A Feast For The Senses" and, of course, "The Secret Lover".
Are you ready?
" Some of the best singing to be heard in New York is from TENET, the early music group with remarkable vocal blends and deep understand of many-centuries-old music. The modern premiere of Schmelzer’s oratorio of sorts, Le Memorie Delorose — which has the Blessed Virgin Mary in Christ’s tomb — is Mar. 2 at Church of St. Luke the Fields (487 Hudson St.). Tenebrae: Pathway to Light highlights Buxtehude on Mar. 24 at St. Vincent Ferrer (869 Lexington Ave.). Collaborators are significant: the string ensemble Acronym on Mar. 2 and The Sebastians on Mar. 24."
Tenet’s instrumentalists broke up the program with substantial works by Nicolò Corradini, Giovanni Gabrieli and Giovanni Battista Fontana, allowing the two superb violinists, Aisslinn Nosky and Beth Wenstrom, to do some duetting of their own. In Gabrieli’s “Sonata XXI con Tre Violini,” the two excellent cornetto players, Alexandra Opsahl and Kiri Tollaksen, were joined by a third, Bruce Dickey, a renowned American virtuoso said to be visiting from his home in Italy.Read More
MONTEVERDI'S MADRIGALS OF WAR AND LOVE
Claudio Monteverdi's Madrigals of War and Love
7pm, April 16, 2016
New York's Society for Ethical Culture
Jolle Greenleaf, soprano
Molly Quinn, soprano
Reginald Mobley, alto
Aaron Sheehan, tenor
Jason McStoots, tenor
John Taylor Ward, bass
Robert Mealy, violin
Adriane Post, violin
Erin Headley, gamba
Doron David Sherwin, cornetto
Kiri Tollaksen, cornetto
Greg Ingles, trombone
Erik Schmalz, trombone
Mack Ramsey, trombone
Paul O'Dette, theorbo
Charlie Weaver, theorbo
Hank Heijink, theorbo
Maria Christina Cleary, harp
Jeffrey Grossman, harpsichord
Jolle Greenleaf, artistic director
Paul O'Dette, guest director
In Northern Italy, the singing women were a secret, advertised only to a select circle of noble auditors. They were Sirens. They excelled at the late Renaissance ideal of “sprezzatura”, the artful nonchalance of performing very difficult tasks with apparent ease.Read More
Founded in 1580 by the Duke of Ferrara, the Concerto delle Donne was an institution that revolutionised women’s role in music-making. For the first time an all-female ensemble had a professional position in secular society and an outlet for their virtuoso talents. On ‘The Secret Lover’, American early music ensemble Tenet pay homage to their musical ancestresses in a programme of music by Strozzi, Kapsberger, Caccini and Rossi.Read More
Love and war are the subjects of Monteverdi’s towering eighth book of madrigals, and they can be hard to tell apart. “The enemy, insidious Love, encircles the fortress of my heart,” goes one of the texts, an example of many in this collection of the blurring between “amor” and “guerra.”
The amorous mood won out on Saturday evening at the New York Society for Ethical Culture on the Upper West Side, where the ensembleTenet presented the sweet-natured program “Madrigals of Love and War.” It interspersed a handful of selections from Monteverdi with bits of his opera “Orfeo” and instrumental works by some of his contemporaries, among them obscurities like Bastian Chilese.Read More
There are 18 items here, nos 1, 4, 7, 9, 14 & 16 being instrumental. It is an excellent anthology, mostly from the first half of the 17th century, though the earliest is Diego Ortiz from 1553, the ground bass surviving well into the 17th century. The music is more-or-less equally divided between the voices, and they sound well. Barbara Strozzi is the outstanding composer, with support from Caccini, d’India, Luigi Rossi and Mazzocchi. Do buy it.Read More
New York’s Tenet ensemble here celebrates “music by, for and about women” in the context of the concerto delle donne, a virtuosic female vocal trio established by Duke Alfonso II of Ferrara in 1580.
The music of Barbara Strozzi and Francesca Caccini (credited as the first woman to write an opera) here rubs shoulders with the work of their male contemporaries, with the 21st-century compositional voice of Caroline Shaw providing a link across the centuries.Read More
"This album focuses on music of the Concerto delle Donne, a revolutionary (because of their gender) group of female professional musicians who sang and played in the court of the Duke of Ferrara in the late 16th century. Much of the music here is also by women, notably the gifted composer-singer Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677). Along with some instrumental selections, there are love songs, laments and a cheery little number with the refrain, 'Bisogna morire,' 'We all must die.' ..."Read More
"The New York-based early music group offer a luscious programme dominated by the 17th-century female composers Barbara Strozzi, whose L’amante segreto provides the collection’s title, and Francesca Caccini. A new work, Caroline Shaw’s Dolce cantavi, sits well here..."Read More
By CORINNA da FONSECA-WOLLHEIM | DEC. 13, 2015
When it comes to festive Christmas dazzle, Handel and Bach have cornered the classical market with performances of their “Messiah” and “Christmas Oratorio” taking up much of the season’s real estate. On Saturday at the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, two stellar early-music ensembles, Tenet and the Dark Horse Consort, made a strong case for allowing the glittering and refined Christmas music of Michael Praetorius (1571-1621) into the competition. The concert also counted members of Bach Vespers at Holy Trinity among the excellent performers.Read More
'The Secret Lover'
By Zachary Woolfe, The New York Times
Constructed in Italian Renaissance style in the early 20th century, the intimate library at the Fabbri Mansion on the Upper East Side, now the House of the Redeemer, was an apt setting for “The Secret Lover,” a charming performance on Saturday by the creative, ambitious early-music group Tenet.Read More
The highlight of this season’s Grand Tour was a performance by the vocal ensemble TENET, one of the city’s liveliest and busiest early-music groups. The setting was Gallery 621, which features Caravaggio and like-minded artists. The room is dominated by sombre classical and religious scenes: the self-flagellation of St. Dominic, by Tarchiani; the Dormition of the Virgin, by Saraceni; a tense exchange between Sts. Peter and Paul, by Ribera; and, most memorable, Caravaggio’s naturalistic imagining of Peter’s denial of Christ, in which the saint looks befuddled and his accuser triumphant. There are no musical references in this gallery of pictures, at least in its current configuration. (An exhibition in a neighboring gallery, entitled “Painting Music in the Age of Caravaggio,” displays Caravaggio’s mischievous early canvas “The Musicians,” in which a trio of scantily clad neo-Grecian youths tune their instruments and study a score while a Cupid figure busies himself with a bunch of grapes.) Instead, the music of Gallery 621 is largely one of color: the red of Paul’s tunic, in the Ribera, emerges from a dark background like a tone from silence.Read More
By Matthew Guerrieri, BOSTON GLOBE
Halfway through the Green Mountain Project’s Monday performance of Claudio Monteverdi’s “Vespero della Beata Vergine,” as Jason McStoots and Owen McIntosh virtuosically tripped through the echoing angelic lauds of “Duo seraphim,” Brian Giebler sidled in at mention of the Trinity, and the song coalesced into triadic solidity. It epitomized the music’s palpable architecture. Monteverdi historically straddled a shift in musical thought, from horizontal counterpoint to vertical harmony. One could hear ideas that once would have made Renaissance waves being stacked into pillars and vaults.Read More