FRANCESCO ANTONIO VALLOTTI – THEORY AND COMPOSER
Francesco Antonio Vallotti (Vercelli, June 11, 1697 – Padua, January 10, 1780) was an important organist, composer and theorist of the eighteenth century music. After leaving the seminary, and after marrying the rule of St. Francis in Chambéry, he was appointed organist at the church of St. Anthony in Padua, giving proof of a rare executive and compositional talent. Tartini considered him the greatest organist of his time. After the retirement of his predecessor, Vallotti succeeded in choirmaster functions, which he held until his death.
Charles Burney, who knew him in Padua in 1770, praised his goodness. Its creative fertility, in religious music compositions, has something miraculous, though he puts much care in writing his own works and even though they were filled with gaps and artifices of counterpoint. It was considered, since 1750, as one of the most accomplished composers of Italy in this kind of music, even if its importance today is mostly linked to the theory of a particular temperament for tuning organ and harpsichord.
FESTA RUSTICA AND VALLOTTI PROJECT
After 320 years from the birth of Vallotti, the flutist-cellist Giorgio Matteoli and the Ensemble Festa Rustica relaunch the work of rediscovery of the theoretical-composer, started in 2010 with the first complete performance and world recording of “Nine Lamentations of Jeremiah the Prophet” (published exclusively with audio book and double CD by the prestigious magazine Amadeus). The Vallotti project of 2017 proposes through concerts, recordings, studies and conferences, the ambitious goal of restoring, starting now and over the coming years, new entries to a substantial body of sacred compositions unjustly neglected: from the “chamber” compositions for two voices with continuous to large compositions and double choir. Compositions are all animated by a powerful dramatic and spiritual vein, a rich and refined phrasing always anchored to the clever contrapuntal science.
NINE LAMENTATIONS OF JEREMIAH THE PROPHET
When he started the drafting of the lessons of darkness, or the impressive work of Nine Lamentations for Holy Week (three on Wednesday, three on Thursday and three for the Good Friday), Vallotti did nothing but added his name to a long list of composers who set to music the suggestive texts of Jeremiah since the fifteenth century. These ‘lessons’, or readings, served, and still serve in the Catholic liturgy as moments of meditation during the offices held during the Holy Week. Since the dawn of the century IX the custom developed to gradually extinguish the light of candles at the end of each of the liturgical offices, as well as symbolize the suffering and death of Jesus Christ on the cross. Hence the addition of the genitive ‘tenebrae the noun’ Lectio ‘. The nine Lamentations is a complex work, written over several years and their writing, like that of other works of Vallotti, was remodeled several times by himself in an intense auditor activities of himself (just think that, of 437 works of its catalog, well l42 lead a double date). The musical structure follows the traditional scheme, faithful to the text of Jeremiah, alternating verses in opening words of Jewish letters (Aleph, Beth, Gimel, Daleth, etc.).
These letters, posed at the beginning of each verse, generally give a chance to the composer to write long vocalizations, opportunities in Vallotti results, both in the compositions with arches, and in those with one voice, obbligato cello and continuo, in writing real small airs, sometimes followed by a recitative (verse) or sometimes erupting in a recitative and arioso seamless, as if to form a whole in the continuum of the score. From a stylistic point of view, one can not help but notice the presence of certain “gallantry” (such as trills, appoggiaturas long, short and ‘to sigh’, dotted rhythms and melodies), combined with the pure baroque orchestration of arches (the part of violet always linked to that of the low and violins soventemente in third or sixth), as well as the consistent presence, even in solo parts, fascinating melodic and harmonic progressions. certainly new element is also the use, in the header of the various movements, of terminology that is more baroque, but almost aimed at forming a new poetic affections. Traditional, Largo, Adagio and Allegro, Vallotti fact prefer Affectionate, the Set or Vivace particularly attuned with captions present in similar compositions of a Nordic author as Telemann. Another important fact is the role attributed solo, as mentioned above, the cello.
It is likely that Vallotti has written these compositions for the cellist Antonio Vandini, in office at Anthony’s Chapel until the Seventies, and great virtuoso of his instrument. His reputation as a performer was due to a big disappointment for the aforementioned Charles Burney ( “A musical journey in Italy”), when, attending a concert of Padua vallottiane music, the English chronicler is much regretted not having been able to hear : “… the famous oboe Bissoli Matteo and the famous old cellist Antonio Vandini, who, as the Italians say, it sounds so as to ‘talk’ his instrument …”
Giorgio Matteoli and Festa Rustica recorded in 2010 world premiere the integral of these beautiful Easter songs with a double CD and audio book published and exclusively for the prestigious Italian music magazine Amadeus.
NEXT STEP: “LE ANTIFONE MARIANE”
Notes prayers as Salve Regina, Alma Redemptoris Mater, Ave Regina Caelorum and Regina Coeli constitute the Marian antiphons ie those free antiphons (prayers set to music without associated Psalm antiphons unlike the Psalms) that the Catholic Church dedicates to Mary. During the years when he was Master of the Chapel in Padua Vallotti he devoted many pages to the texts of Marian antiphons for which he attributed mainly to the voice of the soprano solo part accompanied by stringed instruments of labor objective which involves firsthand, even in guise of musicological researcher, the soprano Giorgia Cinciripi, supported by Giorgio Matteoli and musicologists-musicians Maurizio Cavagnini and Luca Ambrosio, is to revive some compositions Vallotti addressed to the figure of the Blessed Virgin Mary and specifically propose a thematic musical path dedicated to the Marian antiphons written for Soprano solo and strings.