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Charpentier Four Seasons

& Handel Arcadian Duets

The concert programme is built around rare gems of baroque music: Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s four motets: the Four seasons and George Frideric Handel’s Arcadian Duets which is a wonderful selection of Handel’s Italian chamber duets. The lyrics of the four motets are passages from the biblical Song of Songs, while the texts of the Arcadian duets portray the effects of love on the human life and soul. During the concert our Master of Ceremonies–Actor performs these sensual and passionate biblical texts together with
poems from the 18th century. The concert evokes the atmosphere of the 17-18 century with period dress, scenic accessories, acting and narration to complement and dramatize the musical experience, and making the performance unforgettable and extremely enjoyable.


Marc- Antoine Charpentier (1645–1704): Four Seasons
(Quatuor anni tempestates) {H.335-338}
Ver (Spring)
Aestas (Summer)
Autumnus (Autumn)
Hyems (Winter)

Passages from the biblical Song of Songs are set by Charpentier in his four motets for two sopranos and continuo, Four Seasons. These motets were composed in 1685 for the Cistercian nuns of the Abbaye-aux-Bois; they are performed in order, in Latin, in alternation with other pieces of music for recorder. This type of work, in which two treble voices are like soaring twins, was so important in the Baroque period. These texts are symbolizing both the individual soul’s union with Christ, and they are also powerful love poems between man and woman. Close imitation between two sopranos, virtuosic ornamented lines, expressive examples of word painting are characteristics of Italian rather than French writing.

George Frideric Handel (1685–1759): Arcadian Duets
- a selection of Handel’s Italian chamber duets

Quel fior che all' alba ride {HWV 192}
Nò, di voi non vo'fidarmi{HWV 189}
Ahi, nelle sorti umane {HWV 179}
Tanti strali il sen{HWV 197}

The Italian duets (so-called ‘Arcadian duets’) are secular cantatas da camera, performed in Italian by two sopranos, continuo and recorder. Handel wrote his twenty-one Italian duets, in Hanover in 1710-11, and in England in the 1740s, inspired by the arcadian academies. They are intended to be performed at private gatherings in wealthy homes. They are in two or in three movements with various characters and are filled with melodic inspiration and ingenious scene-painting. The entwined soaring voices portray the effects of love on the human soul. Handel reused the material of these duets in later work, including the famous choir parts of the Messiah.



About Design:

The poster is designed by László Blaskovics after a drawing by Charles Le Brun: The Four seasons. Charles Le Brun was a contemporary of Marc-Antoine Charpentier at the French court.

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