Canticle of the Sun and the Art of the Flute
Maurice Steger and Nuria Rial embark on a musical journey through time at the concert on 4 August
Maurice Steger loves musical excavations. Time and again, the flutist and conductor, who grew up in Landquart, discovers unknown, sparsely notated repertoire, which he makes blossom with his musical imagination and tremendous virtuosity on the recorder. The concert on 4 August is dedicated to the 800th anniversary of the parish. It will take place in the historic church of St. Jacob, whose steeple dates back to the founding of the village. For Maurice Steger, the church is therefore the perfect place to fill this anniversary with musical life. “We begin with the three-part hymn O virgo splendens, which was written in the 14th century and kept in the monastery of Montserrat. Nuria Rial will sing the first part, I will play the second on a late medieval recorder and the third will probably be played on a harp. It is not quite 800 years. But our journey through time still stretches from the late 14th century to the Händel era of the early 18th century – although the song from the Montserrat monastery could also be considerably older.”
On the wings of song
The Catalan singer Nuria Rial takes the audience on this journey through time with her articulate, crystalline soprano. The award-winning singer, who once took her soloist’s diploma with the great Swiss singer Kurt Widmer at the Musikakademie Basel and has excelled for over twenty years in the interpretation of Renaissance and Baroque music with conductors such as John Eliot Gardiner, Thomas Hengelbrock and Trevor Pinnock, is the ideal cast for the exclusive repertoire. With the dance-like Damigella tutta bella from Claudio Monteverdi’s 1607 collection of madrigals Scherzi Musicali published in Venice, she leads us into the spirit of optimism of the early Baroque. A century later, the serenata Il giardino d’amore by Alessandro Scarlatti was written in Naples, whose aria Più non m’alletta e piace brings soprano and recorder together in an intimate duet. Georg Friedrich Händel’s Tra le fiamme for soprano and ensemble (1707) is a musically exciting cantata about a thousand butterflies coming too close to the flames. In the lively first aria Tra le fiamme tu scherzi per gioco, the viola da gamba becomes the singer’s equal partner. The two subsequent arias musically describe the spectacular flight of Icarus, who, accompanied by high-pitched instruments, climbs ever higher towards the sun, which eventually melts his flying machine made of wax and feathers and sends him crashing into the sea.
The Cuckoo and the Nightingale
Georg Friedrich Händel loved the organ and was himself a true virtuoso on the instrument. Of his 16 organ concertos in total, The Cuckoo and the Nightingale from 1738, scheduled on 4 August, is the best known. Händel’s organ concertos were often performed during the act breaks of his oratorios as an additional attraction. Sometimes one could even hear the birds chirping, as in this extremely charming dialogue of cuckoo and nightingale. The soloist will be the Basel-based early music expert Sebastian Wienand, who is best known for his creative collaboration with the Freiburger Barockorchester and the conductor René Jacobs. He will interpret the concert on the historic, over 330-year-old Köberle organ, whose tuning pitch is around 455 hertz. However, since the baroque tuning for the orchestra is considerably lower at 415 hertz, the musicians of the La Cetra Barockorchester Basel will have two differently tuned instruments with them for this concert. So every effort will be made to make this journey through time at Klosters Music a real musical discovery tour.