In a series of concerts by La Serenissima - the ensemble’s very name a reference to Venice - both familiar and much-loved works such as Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, and other pieces from the huge catalogue of work with Italian associations is played at monthly intervals from September to February 2017.
Under the title The Grand Tour, La Serenissima starts with two visits to Venice, on 14 September and 14 October. In the first, violinist and director of La Serenissima, Adrian Chandler, unveils a new edition of The Four Seasons, the result of studying parts handwritten by the composer’s father, the violinist Giovanni Battista Vivaldi (1655-1753). These, the only surviving fragments of the original score, are in the great music treasure trove, the Henry Watson Library in Manchester.
In the second Venetian concert on 14 October, Chandler directs La Serenissima in trio sonatas by Vivaldi, Albinoni and Caldara.
Bologna and Verona are the next stops on the Grand Tour, when on 9 November the dramatic sound of brass soloists cuts through the tranquil space at St John’s Smith Square in a work for two trumpets by Giovanni Bononcini (1670-1747), written when the composer was only 15, and again brought to life after a trawl through the library, this time in Paris.
Also reflecting the musical life of Bologna and Verona are works by Bonocini’s contemporaries Giuseppe Torelli, including a concerto for four violins, and Evaristo Felice Dall’Abaco, including a cello concerto.
On 4 December The Grand Tour stops off at Rome for A Roman Christmas, when the musicians include the singers Julia Doyle, Hilary Summers and Catherine Hopper in a programme dominated by compositions that reflect a Roman tradition.
It was the custom in the nine days before Christmas for shepherds to come into Rome to play their rustic instruments such as bagpipes and hurdy-gurdies at the traditional, ornate cribs outside many churches. Composers such as Vivaldi and Corelli incorporated these atmospheric sounds into their own, more sophisticated works,some of which are played and sung by Serenissima, one by Caldara being given its modern-day premiere.
The recorder, trumpet and cello are featured when The Grand Tour moves on to Naples on 18 January, with concertos and sinfonias by Alessandro Scarlatti and others. Scarlatti (1660-1725), whose son Domenico was also a composer, was a radical musician who influenced generations to come, and in Naples, where song was dominant, he wrote groundbreaking instrumental music at the Neapolitan court.
The Grand Tour ends with The Italian Job on 15 February, when many of the composers and techniques acquired en route are combined in one last celebration of the glorious period for music, bridging the 17th and 18th centuries. Works include Vivaldi’s Concerto for Bassoon, and Albinoni’s Concerto for Two Oboes.
|What||The Grand Tour, St John's Smith Square|
|Where||St John's Smith Square, 30 Smith Square, London , SW1P 3HF | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Westminster (underground)|
14 Sep 16 – 15 Feb 17, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|Price||£12 - £32|
|Website||Click here for further information and booking|