Monteverdi e Caravaggio

sonar stromenti e figurar la musica

Monteverdi’s compositional style and the innovations that he introduced are, at least in part, the result of a parallel evolution of musical instruments. The exhibition Monteverdi e Caravaggio, sonar stromenti e figurar la musica (“Monteverdi and Caravaggio: Playing instruments and depicting music”), at the Museo del Violino from 8 April to 23 July, 2017, will reconstruct the L’Orfeo orchestra using original instruments from Monteverdi’s era, selected based on the indications recorded in the first printed editions of the opera, which was performed for the first time exactly 410 years ago.
Indeed, the score specifies a well-defined ensemble: “duoi gravicembali, duoi contrabassi de viola, dieci viole da brazzo, un’arpa doppia, duoi violini piccoli alla francese, duoi chitaroni, duoi organi di legno, tre bassi da gamba, quattro tromboni, un regale, duoi cornetti, un flautino alla vigesima seconda, un clarino con tre trombe sordine” (“two harpsichords, two double-bass viols, ten arm viols, one double harp, two small French violins, two bass lutes, two organs with wooden pipes, three bass viols, four trombones, one regal, two cornetts, one small recorder, one high trumpet with three soft trumpets”). The list not only bears witness to the musical customs of the age but anticipates the baroque trends in Italy, with the dominance of “arm viols” (viole da braccio) over the bass “leg viols” (viole da gamba).
The instruments on display have been chosen according to philological and aesthetic criteria and come from major Italian and international collections. Particular priority was given to instruments that have been preserved in their original condition, or restored to it, without the interventions that in subsequent centuries proved necessary to perform 17th and 18th century repertoires. Where this has not been possible, a copy in the late-Renaissance configuration will be presented alongside the modernized instrument.
The exhibition, curated by Fausto Cacciatori, Lorenzo Girodo, Massimiliano Guido, Renato Meucci and Virginia Villa, will be located within the museum space, to underline the affinities that already linked violinmaking and music between the 16th and 17th centuries. It will also be possible to trace the invention of the violin thanks to Cremona’s Amati family and revisit the contribution of the Brescian school, testified to by the work of Gasparo da Salò e Giovanni Paolo Maggini, and the Venetian school.
Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo, has a happy ending: the hero becomes a symbol of love overcoming death. The Apollonian and salvific role of the music has inspired many artistic representations. Among the most famous is undoubtedly Caravaggio’s The Lute Player.
The original canvas, from a private collection, will be on display, while multimedia applications will allow fascinating comparisons with the other versions of the painting, from an analysis of the playing technique based on the different string arrangements and finger positions to renderings of the scores depicted in the different pictures.
During the exhibition period, conferences and meetings on subjects relating to the study of musical instruments and performance practice in Monteverdi’s time will be organized in collaboration with other local institutions. 


Concerto inaugurale mostra Monteverdi e Caravaggio

Auditorium Giovanni Arvedi (Museo del Violino) - Cremona
venerdì 7 aprile, ore 21.00


Musiche di G. Caccini, B. Ferrari, C. Monteverdi, L. Rossi, B. Strozzi

Roberta Invernizzi, soprano
Franco Pavan
, liuto e tiorba

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