Garden of Adonis:

16th century Italian music to lament a fallen god

The Adonia festival was held in ancient Greece every year between the Spring equinox and Summer solstice. This women-only event lamented the death of Adonis, and celebrated his lover, the Goddess Aphrodite. During the ritual, women would plant shallow gardens of fast-growing seeds inside of broken clay pottery. Then, they would ascend ladders to place the gardens on the rooftops of their houses next to a statue of Adonis. The plants would sprout and quickly die in the hot sun, during which the Adonia festival would reach its climax. The women would gather on the rooftops for an ecstatic all-night festival in honor of the fallen God of Beauty, wailing and singing dirges, drinking wine and making noise together. The ritual was not only a lamentation of love cruelly stolen by the hands of fate, but also a feverish “final dance” with all of life's short-lived pleasures and desires. 

 

The Adonis ritual was eventually passed on to the Romans, and in fact, the story of Adonis was well-known in humanist circles in Italy during the 16th century. In 1553, for example, the myth was carried on through a translation of Ovid's Metamorphoses into ottava rima by Giovanni Andrea Dell'Anguillara. There are also powerful 16th century depictions of Aphrodite's grief over Adonis' death in the artwork of Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino, Giulio Romano, and Paolo Veronese. 

 

Memories of the Adonia festival remained so strong over the centuries that the tradition of planting the famous "gardens of Adonis" still survives in parts of modern-day Italy, where some women ritualistically plant seeds every spring in shallow pieces of broken terracotta pottery, only to watch them die quickly after sprouting, just as the life of the beautiful Adonis was extinguished by a wild boar at the height of his youth. 

 

This concert program is an homage to the reception of the tragic Adonis myth in Renaissance Italy, and the feverish cult of Adonia whose echoes are still heard in Italy today, with 16th century frottole, madrigals, and instrumental music inspired by this powerful story.

Program length: 60 minutes without pause

 

Featuring:

Miriam Trevisan, Voice

John Martling, Renaissance lute

Traverso Consort:

Mara Winter

Charlotte Schneider

Darina Ablogina

Luis Martinez Pueyo

Paolo Veronese Venus y Adonis (ca.1580)

Rhetorical Revolutions:

The Italian Madrigal 1530-1600

In this program, Phaedrus journeys through the metamorphoses of style embodied in the performance of the madrigal in 16th century Italy, boldly applied to performances by traverso consort with voice and lute. Phaedrus begins the concert with stylistic pioneers Philippe Verdelot and Jacques Arcadelt, then progresses through the shocking developments in harmony proposed by mid-16th century composers such as Cipriano de Rore and Nicola Vicentino. As a finale, Phaedrus portrays an example of the lighter hybrid style between the madrigal and canzona masterfully utilized by Andrea Gabrieli. From beginning to end, virtuosity abounds throughout this program. Phaedrus elegantly showcases an array of musical treasures from this dynamic time period.

 

Program length: 60 minutes without pause

Featuring:

Miriam Trevisan, Voice

John Martling, Renaissance lute

Traverso Consort:

Mara Winter

Charlotte Schneider

Darina Ablogina

Luis Martinez Pueyo

Henry VIII's Flutes:

Early Tudor Court Music

Henry VIII's passion for singing, dancing and composing songs was well known during his reign. By the time of the King's death in 1547, he had amassed an enormous collection of instruments, including over 70 transverse flutes. In this program, Phaedrus aims to bring the sound of Henry VIII's flutes back to life, presenting a selection of music which might have been played by his instruments from the most beloved manuscripts which circulated in the English court during the king's lifetime: courtly love songs, instrumental fantasies, and some of the earliest English dance tunes arranged for traverso consort.

Program length: 60 minutes without pause

Featuring:

Miriam Trevisan, Voice

John Martling, Renaissance lute

Traverso Consort:

Mara Winter

Charlotte Schneider

Darina Ablogina

Luis Martinez Pueyo

© 2019 by PHAEDRUS