Hear us in July for the Cape Cod Early Music Festival!

Celestial Harmonies, Divine Inspiration: Music for the Tudors

July 11th at 7 pm, St. Mary's Church, Barnstable, a program of Tudor church music

In the early 1600s the Separatists came to Cape Cod to practice their faith free of the restrictions imposed by the Church of England. In due time, Anglicans followed. The first Episcopal church on Cape Cod is the setting for a program of Anglican and English Catholic music from the early years of the reformation (ca. 1540-1590), by three of England's greatest composers active during those tumultuous times: John Sheppard, Thomas Tallis, and William Byrd.

Festive Vespers for Trinity from Lübeck's Marienkirche, c. 1660Lubeck map 1641

A Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Event

Saturday, June 13 at 5:00 pm, First Lutheran Church in Boston

Freewill offering in lieu of admission

The great church of St. Mary in Lübeck, on Germany's Baltic coast and a major, thriving center of trade from the late Middle Ages onward, had an equally thriving and distinguished music program, quick to adopt the new Venetian styles when they emerged in the 1600s. We present a vespers service for the feast of Trinity, as it might have been performed in the Marienkirche under the direction of Franz Tunder, predecessor of Dieterich Buxtehude, in the 1660s. It was Tunder who established the elaborate programs of so-called Abendmusik with which Buxtehude is associated. Tunder's collection of choral music included vespers music by not only Monteverdi but also his successor at San Marco, Giovanni Rovetta, and his circle. We are pleased to welcome back Dr. Ulf Wellner,Dr. Ulf Wellner former Kantor of St. Jakobi in Lübeck and a specialist in the performance of 17th-century north European music, who will direct.

For use in the varied services at St. Mary's, Franz Tunder also composed cantatas and a substantial amount of organ music in styles familiar to those who know Buxtehude's organ works. Our vespers service will include his extended chorale fantasy "Komm, heiliger Geist" for Pentecost (a feast taking place the week before Trinity) and one of his many preludes, played by First Lutheran organist Bálint Karosi.

Our First Recording Appears on Hungaroton/Naxos!

Hungaroton CD cover

Chorales of Michael Praetorius, Heinrich Schütz, Johann Hermann Schein, and Samuel Scheidt

Now available from Hungaroton and iTunes, a new recording of Bach's monumental Clavierübung III by Bálint Karosi, with Canto Armonico performing the chorales that provide the basis for Bach's organ settings.

In this recording Canto Armonico is directed by Cheryl Ryder, artistic director and manager of Canto Armonico, and Ulf Wellner, former Kantor at Lübeck's Jakobikirche and now Kantor at the Martinikirche in Minden, Germany. Professor Markus Rathey of Yale University has written the liner notes.

Most current recordings of the Clavierübung III feature the organ chorale versions only, but this new recording immerses the listener in the 17th-century world of the young Bach and fellow composers, and demonstrates how central the sung chorale was to these German composers' lives. They would have known not only the simple versions of the chorales from church hymnals, but also many of the polyphonic settings published and sung by boys in the Latin school curriculum. Canto Armonico records a sampling of these polyphonic chorale settings alongside their simpler counterparts, as follows:

The settings by Praetorius for two tenors and two basses, in particular, merit special attention as they demonstrate how adept the composer was at writing music for whatever forces were at his disposal! We recorded the chorales in September and October under the direction of Dr. Ulf Wellner, a specialist in the music of Michael Praetorius, who directed our June 2013 performance of the St. John the Baptist vespers service during Boston's Early Music Festival.

A Praetorius Organvespers for the Feast of Pentecost

Canto Armonico at Pentecost Vespers 2011

Canto Armonico performs music of Hieronymus and Michael Praetorius, with Bálint Karosi, Organ

Wednesday and Thursday, June 25-26 at 7:30 pm, First Lutheran Church

A Worship/Concert Pair with Joan Lippincott and the BEMF Orchestra

Under the spirited direction of Praetorius specialist Ulf Wellner, Kantor of the Martinikirche in Minden, Germany, Canto Armonico reprises its successful Organvespers for the feast of Pentecost from the Boston Early Music Festival in 2011, in a shortened version for the national convention of the American Guild of Organists in Boston. For this vespers service, we include propers and hymns for Pentecost from the vespers order given in the Hamburg service book Cantica Sacra, published by Franz Eler in 1588 and circulated in the Latin schools for use by generations of choirboys.

Our service culminates in the magnificent, four-choir "Te Deum Laudamus" by Hieronymus Praetorius, whose own compilation of chants and psalms was in use in Hamburg before Eler's publication. The two principal Pentecost hymns, "Komm heiliger Geist" ("Come, Holy Ghost") and "Nun bitten wir" ("We Now Implore the Holy Ghost"), both given in Eler's publication, will be sung by the congregation of organists.

Canto Armonico is pleased to present this program as an opportunity for worship during the 2014 national convention of the AGO. We will be joined by the Minister of Music at First Lutheran Church, Bálint Karosi, and an instrumental consort including sackbuts and cornetto, violins, gamba and theorbo, and the First Lutheran Church Organunique Opus X Richards & Fowkes organ, one of the finest instruments in the world for the rendering of 17th-century German repertory.

Biber Vespers in December

Friday, December 20th at 8 pm, First Lutheran Church

Simon Carrington reprises his acclaimed 2004 performance of the Biber Vesperae Longiores ac breviores with Canto Armonico in Boston, in a new setting for the season of Advent.

Evoking the baroque splendor of Salzburg Cathedral where Heinrich Biber spent much of his career, the music features elaborate and virtuosic solos for voices and strings by Biber and his teacher, Heinrich Schmelzer. Our setting adds the serenely beautiful “Sancta Maria, Mater Dei” of Rupert Ignaz Mayr, a version of the hymn "Ave Maris Stella" by Holy Roman Emperor Leopold I, Giovanni Legrenzi’s “Alma Redemptoris Mater,” and two organ toccatas by Biber's sometime colleague in the Salzburger Dom, Georg Muffat.

A North German Organvespers for the Feast of St. John the Baptist

Saturday, June 15th at 5 pm, First Lutheran Church

A Boston Early Music Festival Fringe Event

Canto Armonico reprises its successful Organvespers from the Early Music Festival week of 2011, now in a setting for the feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist which falls on June 24th. To be held at First Lutheran Church, the program is structured like a German vespers service from the Hamburg area in the late 17th century. The feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist, like the feast of St. Michael at the end of September, marked the end of a fiscal quarter in much of Germany, and prudent church music directors could reserve funds to supply more elaborate music for those feasts, bringing in professional singers and instrumentalists to augment the regular choral and organ music in the churches and cathedrals.

We also celebrate the 350th anniversary of the death of Heinrich Scheidemann, highly regarded organist in Hamburg and former student of Sweelinck whose compositions for the organ chorale introduced an expressive ornamentation style embraced by his followers across northern Germany.

Canto Armonico is pleased to present this program as a fringe event during the Boston Early Music Festival, with music ranging from chant to polychoral motets. We will be joined by an instrumental consort of recorders, gambas, theorbo and harp, and the unique Opus X Richards & Fowkes organ, one of the finest instruments in the world for the rendering of 17th-century German repertory.

Vespers Music by Canto Armonico

Jakob Handl: Emitte Spiritum
Michael Praetorius: Der heil'ge Geist von Himmel kam
Michael Praetorius: Komm, heiliger Geist
Heinrich Schütz: Becker Psalm 104: Herr, wie gross sind deine Werk
Hieronymus Praetorius: Jubilate Deo