The Mystery of Carlo G

Ornamented Monodic Songs, Duets and Trios for Voices and Instruments.

April 8 - 14, 2019

Carlo G manuscript facs  p34.jpg

In this Renaissance Academy we will examine the recently discovered “Carlo G” manuscript, as a point of departure in seeking to understand the style of highly embellished music for one or several voices in the last decades of the 16th century and the beginning of the 17th. This manuscript, carrying the name Carlo and the letter “G” followed by a smudge, contains some 85 pieces for one or two voices and keyboard or theorbo, with some pieces calling for violin instead of the second voice or in addition to the solo voice. There are pieces attributed to Marenzio, Caccini, Barbarino, Quagliati, and many unattributed ones, presumably by the mysterious Carlo G himself. We will look not only at the extravagant ornamentation of these pieces, but also compare it to similar pieces by the composers represented in the manuscript in an attempt to understand whether the ornaments were invented by Carlo G or by the composers whose works appear.

 We will also take the manuscript’s inclusion of violin parts, sometimes texted, as an encouragement to perform these and similar pieces instrumentally, attempting to imitate the human voice in every way. The voices are accompanied by a keyboard or a theorbo or both. Since the parts for both instruments are fully written out in all the parts (or in tablature in the case of the theorbo), they provide invaluable insights into the early use and style of basso continuo.

 The course is open to singers, as well as to players of violin, cornetto, recorder, keyboard and theorbo.
The faculty will consist of Suzie Leblanc, voice, Bruce Dickey, cornetto, and Catalina Vicens, keyboard and basso continuo.