TARQUINIO MERULA

THE GREAT MUSIC MASTER OF THE VASA'S COURT

 

 

In 2015 the music world commemorated the 350th death anniversary of the XVIIth century Italian composer Tarquinio Merula. For this occasion the Vilnius based early music ensemble Canto Fiorito created a program dedicated to this great master, which was first performed at the Palace of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania, the former court of Vasa’s Dynasty, where Merula’s name was placed with special significance. 

In the beginning of the XVII century, the Lithuanian-Polish Commonwealth, ruled by the Vasa’s dynasty, was at the peak of prosperity and attracted numerous music masters to occupy the highest positions in the Lithuanian-Polish musical scene. It is absolutely sure that the most prestigious and influent among these masters was Tarquinio Merula, an Italian composer, organist and violinist that worked as organista di chiesa e di camera for Sigismund III Vasa between 1621-1626. Just after this period, Merula returned to Cremona, to occupy the position of maestro di cappella at its cathedral. Several musicologists and experts of the early baroque era attested that “Merula was a key figure in the early development of several forms which were to mature later in the Baroque era, such as the cantata, the aria, the sonatas da chiesa and da camera, variations on a ground bass, and the sinfonia”.

The program “Tarquinio Merula – the Great Music Master of the Vasa’s Court” presents all the musical forms composed by Merula, offering a colorful program of sacred and secular music, with motets, madrigals, arias, sonatas, grounds and sinfonias. Several pieces of the program are from his Opus 5 and 6, composed in 1624, when Merula was working for Sigismund III. Since the bass libretto is missing in all original sources of his Opus 6, the artistic leader of Canto Fiorito, Rodrigo Calveyra, has reconstructed some pieces from it, which were revived for the first time since Merula’s times.