Capricornus Ensemble Stuttgart · Music for San Marco

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Capricornus Ensemble Stuttgart
Music for San Marco

Music from the Renaissance Era and the Baroque Era
for 2 Violins, 4 Trombones & Organ,
performed according to the tradition of the time
by the Capricornus Ensemble Suttgart

Works by Claudio Merulo (1533-1604), Giovanni Bassano (c.1551-1617), Giovanni Gabrieli (c.1555-1612), Biagio Marini (c.1587-1663), Giovanni Battista Buonamente (c.1595-1642), Dario Castello (16th-17th Century) & Francesco Usper (End of 16th Century - 1641)

A live recording from the church of the German
UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery

HD Recording · DDD · Duration: c. 51 Minutes

Currently not available on CD


Work(s) & Performance


nside St. Mark's Basilica (San Marco), the walls and floor, where not covered by marble slabs, are decorated with mosaics resplendent with gold, hence the nickname "Golden Basilica". In total they cover more than 8000 m² and form the largest continuous mosaic surface in the world. It shows pictures of apostles and the Holy Spirit, scenes from Genesis or even the archangels Gabriel and Michael. The cathedral provided a perfect scene for two choirs mutually responding through their antiphons not only side by side but front to front. The balconies on opposing sides offered the appropriate places for this to happen, and the organs, each located on a separate balcony, created ideal conditions. The idea of placing one choir or even several partial choirs on different balconies or at different places in the basilica was an obvious solution. But also instrumental ensembles took advantage of the basilica's architecture. They sang and played alternately, responded, united in tutti passages and were thus able to fill the space with the full splendour of sound. After the sacking of Rome in 1527, Doge Andrea Gritti, who was in office from 1523 to 1538, wanted to reform Venice and make it a cultural centre for architects, painters, writers and musicians in place of Rome.

Historical View: Procession in piazza San Marco by Gentile Bellini (from: Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia)

Giovanni Gabrieli became second organist subordinated to his uncle Andrea Gabrieli in 1585, after Claudio Merulo had resigned. Only one year later, after the death of his uncle in 1586, he became the principal organist of St. Mark's. As Andrea Gabrieli's nephew, Giovanni was priviliged to benefit from his uncle's knowledge and to study his works, which were already experimenting with music for more than one choir. He finally continued and refined these Trends himself. Today he is regarded as the musician who completed the Venetian School. Many of his works bear the title Canzon, such as the Canzon terza a 6, which was composed as early as 1615. Actually Canzon means song, from which it is derived. As in the vocal motet, various "soggetti" of different character are performed one after the other in imitative form in the individual voices. The sections themselves are separated from each other by clear cadenzas. The Instrumentation of the canzon is not fixed to a particular ensemble formation.

Biagio Marini, born in Brescia in 1594, was also active at St. Mark's, but not as one of the Maestri di Cappella, but from 1615 as a violinist under Claudio Monteverdi. Musically, Marini played a major role in the development of the violin and trio sonata. He was also the first to record double and triple stops and the bow vibrato. His melodies show a lyrical character and he avoids rhythmic repetitions in favor of other compositional solutions.

Cipriano de Rore was in early contact with the inner circle around Adrian Willaert and de Rore's first patrons were probably Ruberto Strozzi and Ceri Capponi. In 1563 de Rore was able to succeed Willaert at St. Mark's, who had died in December. Only one year later he gave up the post as a result of organisational failures. During his lifetime, de Rore wrote over 100 madrigals, in which tightly woven, imitative polyphony is evident, which had previously only been common in motets. Among these is the "Anchor che col partire" for eight voices, published in 1547, which became very popular and was often rearranged for voice and instrument and served as a model for parodies.

Giovanni Bassano appeared as an instrumental musician at St.Mark's in 1576. In addition to Bassano as musical director of the seminary attached to St. Mark's, Giovanni Croce as maestro di cappella and Giovanni Gabrieli as principal organist were also active at St. Mark's. Bassano himself composed, among other things, motets and concerti ecclesiastici, madrigals and songs. Adaptations, reductions and transcriptions were common at the time, so it is not surprising that Bassano also adapted de Rore's Anchor "che col partire" for eight voices.

Claudio Merulo became second organist at St. Mark's in 1557 and finally first organist in 1566. Among his compositions are mainly madrigals, motets, masses as well as stage and organ music, some of which he published himself. He is considered the most important pioneer of the toccata, which captivates with its compositional care, elegance, fantasy and expressiveness. The Toccata "prima undecimo detto quinto tuono" can be found in the collection "Toccate d'Intavolatura d'Organo", published in 1604.

Giovanni Battista Buonamente follows in the tradition of Giovanni Gabrieli and probably also of Claudio Monteverdi. He himself was probably not active at St. Mark's and many of his compositions are lost. Only the last four of his seven books of instrumental music have survived. These, however, were all published in Venice (1626, 1629, 1636 and 1637). Dario Castello called himself "Capo de musici d'Instrumenti da fiato" and "Capo di Compagnia de Instrumenti". He Held both posts at St. Mark's. In content, Castello's sonatas are characterized by the diversity of ideas and notations. Sometimes sections within a sonata are linked together by variations on a theme, but the principle of alternation and contrast is predominant.

Francesco Usper was a pupil of Andrea Gabrieli and from 1614 organist in San Salvatore. In 1622 he was appointed first organist at St. Mark's. In 1624 he became director of the Scuola di San Giovanni Evangelista, where he was already active as organist in 1596. Masses, psalms and instrumental pieces appeared in print under the title "Sinfonia". In 1619 "Compositioni armoniche" with motets and ten instrumental pieces were published. Of these, two symphonies, three sonatas (including one by his nephew Gabriel Sponga), three canzonas and two capriccios exist in a copy by Albert Einstein.



he Capricornus Ensemble Stuttgart is named after the Stuttgart court conductor Samuel Capricornus (1628 - 1665). The soloist ensemble, internationally cast under the direction of the Stuttgart trombone professor Henning Wiegräbe, has existed since 2009. It set itself the task of presenting musical treasures from the Renaissance and Baroque periods. Since 2014 the ensemble has found a musical home in Stuttgart with its own concert series. Here it is able to organize a wide variety of exciting concert programs. One of its main focuses is to embed the music of Stuttgart court composers such as Lechner, Capricornus or Boeddecker into an international context. To date, the Capricornus Ensemble has released three CDs on the Coviello Classics label.

The trombonist Henning Wiegräbe is a professor in the trombone class at the Musikhochschule Stuttgart. He studied in Hamburg, Karlsruhe and Trossingen with E. Wetz, W. Schrietter and C. Toet. He was strongly influenced by, among others, B. Slokar (Switzerland), C. Lindberg (Sweden) and B. Dickey (USA/Italy). Already during his time as principal trombonist with the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz he devoted himself more and more to early music. Since then he has performed with ensembles such as Concerto Palatino, Les Cornets Noirs, Cantus Cölln, Concerto Köln, Musica Fiata Köln, Orchestre des Champs-Elysées, Collegium Vocale Gent, Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, the Taverner Players and the Balthasar Neumann Ensemble and under conductors such as Konrad Junghänel, Philippe Herreweghe, Andrew Parrott, Ton Koopman, Pablo Heras-Casado and Thomas Hengelbrock. In Stuttgart he founded the Capricornus Ensemble Stuttgart. Besides his work as a soloist with orchestras such as the Bundesjugendorchester, the Deutsche Staatsphilharmonie Rheinland-Pfalz, the Dortmund Philharmonic, the Kurpfälzisches Kammerorchester or the Württembergisches Kammerorchester Heilbronn, he is an enthusiastic chamber musician. Partners include the Mandelring Quartet, the Vogler Quartet, the Verdi Quartet, the Peter Lehel Quartet, Daniel Schnyder, Martin Spangenberg, Wolfgang Bauer, Christian Lampert, Radovan Vlatkovic, City Brass and Bach, Blech & Blues. A special concern of Henning Wiegräbe is research into and expansion of the trombone repertoire. This ranges from discovering and performing unknown works from the Renaissance and Baroque periods to collaborating with contemporary composers and musical crossover artists such as Peter Lehel and Daniel Schnyder.

Capricornus Ensemble Stuttgart

Andreas Pilger & Cosimo Stawiarski ~ Baroque Violins
Julia Fischer, Sabine Gassner & Felix Schlüter ~ Baroque Trombones
Simon Reichert ~ Organ
Henning Wiegräbe ~ Baroque Trombone & Artistic Direction

Series & Edition


ublishing Authentic Classical Concerts entails for us capturing and recording outstanding performances and concerts for posterity. The performers, audience, opus and room enter into an intimate dialogue that in its form and expression, its atmosphere, is unique and unrepeatable. It is our aim, the philosophy of our house, to enable the listener to acutely experience every facet of this symbiosis, the intensity of the performance, so we record the concerts in direct 2-Track Stereo digital HD. The results are unparalleled interpretations of musical and literary works, simply - audiophile snapshots of permanent value. Flourishing culture, enthralling the audience and last but not least also you the listener, are the values we endeavor to document in our editions and series.

The concerts at the UNESCO World Heritage Maulbronn Monastery supply the ideal conditions for our aspirations. It is, above all, the atmosphere of the romantic, candle-lit arches, the magic of the monastery in its unadulterated sublime presence and tranquillity that impresses itself upon the performers and audience of these concerts. Renowned soloists and ensembles from the international arena repeatedly welcome the opportunity to appear here - enjoying the unparalleled acoustic and architectural beauty of this World Heritage Site, providing exquisite performances of secular and sacred music, documented by us in our Maulbronn Monastery Edition.

Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler, K&K Verlagsanstalt

Works, Movements & Tracklist

Giovanni Gabrieli (c. 1555 - 1612):
1. Canzon terza a 6 [2:53]

Biagio Marini (c. 1587 - 1663):
2. Canzon ottava a 6 [2:35]

Giovanni Bassano (c. 1551 - 1617):
3. Anchor che col partire (Diminution) [3:43]
Original by Cipriano de Rore (c. 1515 - 1565)

Biagio Marini (c. 1587 - 1663):
4. Sonata nona a 6 [3:19]
5. Canzon »La Bemba« [2:52]
6. Canzon terza a 4 Tromboni [1:51]

Claudio Merulo (1533 - 1604):
7. Toccata prima undecimo detto quinto tuono [4:42]

Biagio Marini (c. 1587 - 1663):
8. Canzon decima a 6 [3:48]

Dario Castello (16th - 17th Century):
9. Sonata decimaterza a 4 [8:08]

Francesco Usper (End of 16th Century - 1641):
10. Capriccio a 6 sopra »La sol fa re mi« [3:21]

Dario Castello (16th - 17th Century):
11. Sonata terza a due Soprani [5:35]

Claudio Merulo (1533 - 1604):
12. Qui manducat meam carnem [2:44]

Giovanni Battista Buonamente (c. 1595 - 1642):
13. Sonata No 22 a 6 [4:21]

14. Applause [0:41]

A concert recording to 'Direct 2-Track Stereo Digital HD' from the church of the German UNESCO World Heritage Site Maulbronn Monastery, recorded, released & created by Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler in cooperation with Sebastian Eberhardt, Klosterkonzerte Maulbronn ("Maulbronn Monastery Concerts").

Concert Date: June 8, 2019

Sound Engineer: Andreas Otto Grimminger

Production & Mastering: Andreas Otto Grimminger & Josef-Stefan Kindler

Photography, Artwork & Coverdesign: Josef-Stefan Kindler

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