Featured Image: Ensemble Accordone in 2010.
By John P. Walsh
The Italian early Baroque ensemble “Ensemble Accordone” was founded in 1984 by two musicologists: composer Guido Morini (born 1959) and tenor Marco Beasley (Italian-English, born 1957). Just in the last decade the duo in collaboration with others has recorded and released 10 albums. This new 45-minute opera composed by Moroni is called “Vivifice Spiritus Vitae Vis” (“Revive the Life Force Spirit”) and appeared in 2009. While Accordone’s main focus is arranging and performing musical literature of the 15th and 16th centuries, “Vivifice Spiritus Vitae Vis” is one of two recent albums by the group conceived from all original compositions by Morini.
In their interpretations Accordone often seeks collaboration with outside musical artists – and this is the case for “Vivifice Spiritus Vitae Vis,” an opera in three parts. The first part is “Effuderunt Aquas Nubila” (“Poured out of murky waters”) arranged for soloists, chorus, organ and basso continuo concertante. The Helicon and Euterpe choirs as well as soloists Elisabetta de Mircovich and Claudia Caffagni are featured. Other special guest musicians performing include Karen Peeters, Jaap Kruithof, Edwin Derde, and Guido Morini. The opera’s conductor is Geert Hendrix. While “Vivifice Spiritus Vitae Vis” is imbued with the monophonic structure of 6th century Gregorian chant and the Baroque polyphony from a thousand years later, Accordone consciously strives in this album to have early music be easier for the 21st century listener to enjoy. While today’s listener may or may not recognize or identify this melodious music’s traditional backbone, the manifestation of a “rigorous lyricism” demonstrates Accordone’s creative confidence in bringing early music into relevant practice for the 21st century.
“Vivifice Spiritus Vitae Vis” is the first part of a trilogy of compositions dedicated to the Christian Trinity – Father, Son, and Spirit. By design the new commission by the Basilica Cattedrale della Vergine Assunta (Lodi Cathedral in northern Italy) is to counter today’s materialism by configuring the great religious traditions in a new way by contemporary words and music. The opera’s libretto is a new Latin translation by Ettore Garioni comprised exclusively of verses from the Hebrew Scriptures.
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