55th Meslay Barn Festival Capella de la Torre - Early Music Ensemble
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) described himself as a “universal genius” painter but also a sculptor, architect, anatomist, mechanic, engineer and natural philosopher, was also interested in music, contributing to the development of many musical instruments, and composing them. In 1490, for example, while working at the court of his patron Ludovico Sforza, he played a key role in the preparation of the festivities for the wedding of the young Duke Gian Galeazzo and Isabella of Aragon. He staged the Il Paradiso mask with a completely contemporary style of music. The programme presented by the Cappella de la Torre ensemble focuses on the frottola, a musical genre that emerged in the courts of northern Italy during Leonardo da Vinci’s time. It was performed at the Este court with plays such as Il marchese di Salutio. The frottola spread to the rest of Europe thanks in part to Ottaviano Petrucci’s editions. Among the composers mentioned are Bartolomeo Tromboncino and Marchetto Cara, who are among the most representative artists in the genre. Two other composers who cannot be ignored are Josquin des Prés who worked in northern Italy and whom all his contemporaries considered their master, and his rival Heinrich Isaac. The oldest version of A la battaglia d’Isaac – an onomatopoeic evocation of a military band inspired by the Battle of Sarzanello in 1487 – is a manuscript from 1490 written at the court of the Gonzagas of Mantua. At the battaglia in Isaac, therefore, several years before the War of Clement Janequin composed in 1523, inspired by the Battle of Marignan in 1515. This piece is included in this recording with the intention of reminding us that Leonardo had also designed fortification plans and a whole series of war machines, and that he had painted a large number of battle scenes.Founded in 2005 by Katharina Bäuml, La Capella de la Torre is one of the world’s leading early music wind ensembles with a repertoire ranging from the 14th to the 17th centuries. the name “de la Torre” must be understood in two ways: at the beginning of the 16th century, the Spanish Francisco de la Torre composed probably the most famous piece for a brass section, Danza Alta. In addition, the name can be literally understood: “De la Torre” means “from the tower”; brass bands played on towers or balconies on various occasions; in order to make early music sound more contemporary for modern ears, historical and musical research plays an essential role in the Capella de la Torre programmes.